Washington D.C. Is Being Sued For Gentrification
"The city is intentionally trying to lighten black neighborhoods," the lawsuit claims in part.
As conversations surrounding the effects of gentrification are happening across the country, Washington, D.C. is being sued for gentrification and alleged discrimination against long-term black D.C. residents.
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Civil rights lawyer Aristotle Theresa, on behalf of several black residents, has filed a lawsuit in U.S District Court alleging D.C.'s policies have discriminated against residents by age, income and race, The Washington Post reported.
The lawsuit claims the City has implemented policies over the past 12 years that have catered to a demographic group called the "creative class," which excludes many black and working-class families. The complaint targets D.C. agencies, including the zoning commission, housing authority office of planning and office of the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, for policies that have in turn forced out black residents.
D.C. I'm about to destroy this venue tonight. See you at U Street Music Hall for carnage. pic.twitter.com/1sfkXl6OO4— Butch Walker (@butchwalker) August 24, 2016
"...the policies are determinative of unit types that overwhelmingly do not include family units or true affordable housing," the suit states. "These policies discriminate explicitly by age and source of income. Further, this agenda disparately impacts other protected classes such as race, family, religion, and matriculation."
The suit later added, "...the city is intentionally trying to lighten black neighborhoods, and the way they have primarily been doing it is through construction of high density, luxury buildings, that primarily only offer studios and one bedrooms," the suit states.
The lawsuit, also on behalf of CARE members, which the complaint states is comprised of all African-American residents living on the "East of the River," seeks damages that exceed $1 billion.
According to The Post, a spokesperson for the District’s Office of the Attorney General said the City would not comment on the suit until it files its response, which is reportedly due June 25.
Back in 2011, The New York Times reported that D.C. black residents had lost being the majority of the population for the first time in an estimated 51 years.