A Cool Thing That Happened Yesterday

One aspect of running for DC Council that has been very frustrating to me is that I don't get to knock on doors as much as I'd like. There are a lot of demands on my time, which mostly involve trying to raise money to fund our voter outreach efforts. But yesterday I threw caution to the wind and joined our great LGBT canvassing team, headed up by the amazing Greg Cendana, to hit the streets of Wards 1 and 2.

And the most amazing thing happened. I walked up to the door at the corner of New Hampshire and S Streets NW and met Dr. Harold Martin. Dr. Martin has lived at that house, right across from the S Street dog park, since 1936. For any of you local reporters reading this, you need to do a story on Dr. Martin and his wife, Delores. They invited me in, and we talked about their lives, their children and grandchildren, and their thoughts on the city they have called home for so many years. Dr. and Mrs. Martin met at Howard University. They recalled when their neighbors in Dupont were the Deltas and Kappas and other important institutions in the African-American community. But they welcome their newer neighbors and said they especially appreciate the hospitality of their Swann Street neighbors, who invite them to block parties. Two of my good friends, Jeff and Lori, live on Swann Street and I told the Martins we'll all get together for a barbecue soon! Mrs. Martin was a teacher in DCPS and a principal at Key Elementary School in the Palisades. She told me how proud she was of her students and the impact she's had on their lives.

Mrs. Martin showed me a letter that her family recently acquired. It was from Norwich University, where Dr. Martin's father attended university. It was a letter from an executive at a pharmaceutical company, asking if Norwich would allow a "negro" student to attend because that executive wanted to give Dr. Martin's father an education and a scholarship. It is a part of our American history, as disturbing as it was to read. It made me think of the sacrifices and indignities many have had to go through to reach their goals for themselves and their families.

It also made me think of how many amazing people we have in this city, and we don't celebrate that enough. So thank you Dr. and Mrs. Martin for making me think about our city in that way. And also to the folks who use the S Street dog park: Remember the Martins are your neighbors, and when your dog is barking loudly at 6 am, they are trying to get their rest! I'd like the Martins to keep contributing to our city for many more years to come.