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Attend a virtual version of Porch Fest

The porches and stoops along Rhode Island Avenue NE have long been home to a vibrant music and arts scene. Bo Diddley owned a bungalow on the street. Mr. Y’s Jazz Club called a nearby venue home. And each April, in the spirit of Rhode Island Avenue’s history and neighborly fun, Rhode Island Avenue Main Street hosts a Porch Fest. As its name suggests, Porch Fest is a day dedicated to free porch concerts, dance performances and poetry recitations. April came and went this year without a fest, but community members are in luck, as Porch Fest is moving online for two mini-festivals. Tune in June 13 for virtual concerts from electronic pop duo Atoms Apart, rock band Panda God, or country singer Mason McCormick. On that day,  there will be 11 performers, each with a 20-minute set. On June 20, 11 more performers, including The Flip Phones and BRASSIE, will stream their music from their porches to yours. There’s a few things to note here, especially as local musicians and small businesses feel the pain of the pandemic. RIAMS is designed to support small businesses and business districts. With that in mind, virtual concertgoers are encouraged to donate to nearby shops like Zeke’s Coffee, The Public Option and Manny & Olga’s through the organization’s Small Business Relief Fund. It’s a little different than the usual festival, but the local performances are still sure to please. Porch Fest takes place June 13 at noon and June 20 at noon. Registration is available at eventbrite.com. Free. Sarah Smith  

Hear (or read) firsthand accounts of the 1991 Mount Pleasant Uprising

Just a year before the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, D.C.’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood was shaken by the shooting of Daniel Enrique Gomez, a Salvadoran man, on the corner of 17th and Lamont Streets NW. Eyewitnesses said Gomez was handcuffed when he was shot by rookie cop Angela Jewell. (The police claimed that Gomez had lunged with a knife.) Although Gomez lived, the result was a clash between a mostly black and white Metropolitan Police Department and a growing Latino community that felt misunderstood, neglected, and harassed. (In his interview, Jose “Chico” Diaz, who grew up in the neighborhood, describes an incident where a police officer pressed a pistol against his brother’s head for no apparent reason.) A Metrobus and a Church’s Chicken were torched in the ensuing conflict, and MPD cruisers were rocked and flipped. A curfew was imposed on Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, and Adams Morgan, and after three long nights, the uprising subsided. Nearly 30 years later, the DC Public Library compiled interviews with 10 Mount Pleasant residents who witnessed the action and its aftermath. Thanks to the Mount Pleasant Riot Oral History Project, transcripts of the interviews are available online. You can also listen to the original audio of conversations with residents, a former ANC commissioner, a social worker, and a Capuchin friar. The interviewees’ combined perspectives help illustrate the inequities and injustices that led to the uprising. They also highlight a grim resonance between the discontent of D.C. residents in 1968, 1991, and 2020. The interviews are available at digdc.dclibrary.org. Free. —Will Lennon