Columbia Heights, Mt Pleasant, Adams Morgan

Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan, three historic neighborhoods located two miles directly north of the White House, are often described as a lively cultural kaleidoscope. Arguably the most ethnically diverse region of the city, this is home to a Black community that has lived here for generations, a vibrant Latino community, consisting of immigrants mostly from El Salvador, a rapidly growing segment of newer residents (mostly younger professionals), and others from all over the world. As one wall mural on Kenyon Street quoting community members describes it, the neighborhood is “a mix of cultures that is fascinating … changing … really musical, lively … como mi segundo hogar [like my second home].

Here we embrace living in an intimate neighborhood within a fast-paced, global city. Our neighbors share a love of all things local (fewest cars per capita in the city) while also being internationally minded (the highest number of returned Peace Corp volunteers per capita in the country) and highly engaged in social and political activism (a popular starting point of city-wide rallies). Each also has its own distinct characteristics. Adams Morgan is best known for its vibrant weekend nightlife, international restaurants, and bohemian vibe, Mount Pleasant for its serene tree-lined streets and family-owned Latino establishments, and Columbia Heights, most recently, for its transformation into a commercial and residential hot spot.

Which brings us to some challenges: Our neighborhood is truly beautiful, but it is also truly broken — in real need of the transforming power of God’s grace.

We continue to struggle with great economic disparities (the dark side of gentrification), crime and gang violence, poverty, human trafficking, the disregard of the neighborhood’s heritage and (especially black) history, struggling schools, lack of affordable housing, the displacement of long-time residents, and racial strife. Indeed, this is why we are here—not only to celebrate our neighborhood’s beauty, but also to serve its broken parts as loving neighbors. We believe the gospel dares us to ask and imagine: For all its present glory today, what could this neighborhood be like tomorrow?

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