I really, really enjoy reading the Washington City Paper. I find your articles to be very informative; they relate to what is going on on the streets of D.C. It is very enlightening for those who do not have a “connect.” Continue to keep it real and reveal truth that other papers don’t report.

Allow me please to begin with the following disclaimer: I am writing this letter based solely on the fact that I have assumed that “The Stoop at 1701 Euclid” (12/3/04), by Jason Cherkis, is actually true and factual. I realize my disclaimer is strange; however, it is absolutely unbelievable that in this day and age blatant, obviously racially motivated, discriminating “Get those people out of our neighborhood” scare tactics are still attempted with so much passion.

I find this family’s experience absolutely mind-boggling, stressful, and disheartening. The selfishness of their so-called neighbors and their small-minded desire to create a perfect little space sickens me.

How is it that D.C. government representatives can spend time, which equals taxpayer money, on avid attempts to evict property owners? Gentrification.

How is it that city government representatives and agencies support this ongoing effort? Gentrification.

Call me naive, but it is hard to comprehend why the D.C. government would participate in an all-out effort to react to complaints about the “black jackets” of this neighborhood corner and associate all their activity with the Bennett family. Have they been to other city neighborhoods and been as adamant there? I don’t think so. Gentrification.

(“Gentrification: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier, usually poorer residents.”)

I am a native Washingtonian and I am proud to have lived in three out of four sectors of the city. I have witnessed many neighborhoods changing over the years. I have lived on blocks and in neighborhoods where there was more than one family that had quite a few members living in the same household. What was the big deal that they congregated on their porches and stoops? They were theirs to congregate on. Yes, they may have been noisy at times, but the neighbors never complained, let alone called the police, advisory neighborhood commissioners, or councilmembers. Why would you do that to a neighbor? As a matter of fact, I envied the clan of close-knit relatives and extended family members, and I often tried to get in good with them and become a part of all the fun!

And yes, illegal drug infestation made its way into our neighborhood, too. The larger families, as well as the smaller families, had male and female relatives who chose to walk the path less desired, and we mourned for them. We did not ostracize them because of any neighbor’s complaining.

Furthermore, how does the Metropolitan Police Department get away with barging in on this family on the basis of hearsay?

My heart goes out to Lonnie. I know how it feels to have a family member make wrong decisions, but separating them from the only support system they know is not the answer. It saddens me to think about his experience, and I can imagine the long-term effects this has created.

Psalms 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

I pray the Bennett family find themselves good legal representation and receive resolution to and restitution for the harassment and clear discrimination they have experienced at the hands of the government, as well as known civilians.

To the Bennett family I say: You will survive and win if you don’t quit!

Fort Washington, Md.