Is this the Diversite I know? Your column (Loose Lips, 7/16) was brought to my attention, and it’s my understanding there is a considerable movement under way to drive this establishment out of business. Is this the very same place my mother, sister, an established local entrepreneur, and I enjoyed dessert after my opening night at the Source Theatre Festival? Where we were impressed by the congenial service while b-tribe played in the background? Yes, I remember the details quite vividly. Could this be the same place a group of friends—all professionals, all races—converged for our pre-theater dinner stop? Could this be the same place D.C. salseros and salseras enjoy top performances by artists like Oscar D’Leon? (D.C. salseros and salseras are not “gangs,” in case you’re wondering.) The very same club where on a slow Wednesday night a group of us danced merengue and salsa and even waltzed on the wide and wonderful dance floor?

You paint a compelling picture for persons who have never patronized Diversite prior to reading your column with its argument for “Operation Scapegoat.” I’ve patronized Diversite with my family, and partied with yuppie, buppie, and luppie (Latino urban professionals) there. And what happened? The same thing that happened when you visited. Nothing. I saw no gangs, either. So is closing Diversite the only solution and strategy the advisory neighborhood commission can come up with for cleaning up the “14th Street strip”?

Diversite currently occupies some prime real estate after the renovations of the Studio and Source Theaters (and Woolly Mammoth right around the corner). And if I recall, Diversite took a former auto shop (I know it was a wreck of a building) and did a Cinderella job, becoming one of the first attractive businesses in the move to revive 14th Street.

But 14th Street is still trying to lift itself from the ashes of April 4, 1968. Urban economic depression, racial polarization, social alienation, and displacement burn to this day. I believe the solutions are in cooperative efforts to address these problems outside our homes and business establishments. Gang violence did not appear with Diversite, is not inside Diversite, as we’ve both seen, and will not disappear with Diversite.

Kalorama

via the Internet