A virtual hoard of the shiny things I find on the internet.
As Tom said, our friend Kenyan McDuffie was elected tonight to fill our ward’s Council seat (it’s vacant because the previous occupant is going to jail for stealing money from children).
It’s clearly very rewarding to see the victory- we expected it to be close, but Kenyan won by a landslide beyond anything we dared hope- but the thing that struck me tonight wasn’t the candidate, but the supporters.
DC is going through some pretty substantial demographic changes. A city that has been majority black for decades is getting whiter and whiter, and more and more affluent, and this effect is spreading rapidly across the city. The type of development being attracted is changing; the newer residents have different priorities than their established neighbors; and rightly or wrongly (probably some of both), residents who have lived in the District for years are feeling displaced or in danger of it.
As fairly stereotypical “white yuppie gentrifiers,” Tom and I have had a front row seat for a lot of the hostility and division, both overt and coded, that’s been the result of these trends.
Which is why I found tonight’s crowd so striking. Kenyan’s core volunteers have always been pretty diverse; he’s fond of saying that his campaign looks like Ward 5. But the huge group at tonight’s victory party was from an even broader selection of the ward: age, neighborhood, socioeconomic status and education level, race, sexual orientation, length of time as DC resident, everything. And people weren’t just talking to people who were like them. I had a seat near the door and got to see almost everyone as they came in; the people who came over to greet me, hug me, kiss me on the cheek were as diverse as the rest of the crowd.
It’s a pretty great feeling.
It’s not that I think all the divisiveness is behind us; this was a hard-fought campaign and that bitterness isn’t just going to dissipate in the face of even a victory as decisive as this one. But it was a damn fine start.