Community//

Who is afraid of empty streets in Washington?

During Inauguration week?

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I once lived in Washington, DC, at that time “Chocolate City ” as a reference to – black folks that came for refuge in good federal government jobs. Now, as the city braces itself for inauguration week after the turmoil of the infamous insurrection, the streets surrounding the capitol are emptied. Folks are staying home and inside as no one knows what will happen in the days to come.

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These photos are from a friend’s morning walk, and she shared the photos with me. I have never seen such a stillness, such a hush, such a ghost town aura in the nation. As if we are holding our breath… waiting for the storm to pass… waiting for a promised peaceful transition of power to the new leader of the free world.

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Will there be peace? Or will there be more suffering of a nation that has endured the pain of a pandemic, economic calamity, and social unrest? Will our neighbors across the pond continue to pause and reflect on our democratic process and rule of law? Will we need to barricade empty streets? Typically, thousands come to celebrate the inaugural ceremony – I have been to 2.

This is a historic time when we will have a former Vice President, who is the oldest person to ascend to the presidency and a black woman vice president: dual wins for the growing working aged and minority populations. If this was the old Chocolate City, there would be dancing in the streets from now until the inaugural balls that the president makes his way around to all the constituents in the country. This would be a time of joy. A time of celebration . . . No one could have predicted empty streets.

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My sister came to visit yesterday from Washington via train and found that even now there are no stops at three DC Metro stations including Union station. Whatever the inauguration will be — it will not be normal. Hopefully government, the transit system, and the streets will get back to normal after the peaceful transition of power, January 21st. 

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