WaPo’s Avis Thomas-Lester today looks at the intersection at 13th Place and Congress Street SE, an intersection where 17 people have been killed in violent crime in the past decade.
The two Southeast Washington women met in the 1970s as activists in their Anacostia neighborhoods. Their friendship grew as they pushed for better schools, programs for teenagers and more jobs. Together, they went into crack houses, coaxing addicts to return home to their families.
One woman, former D.C. Council member Sandy Allen, 67, turned to politics to help her community. The other, the Rev. Joyce Scott, 58, turned to faith.
Early on Jan. 2, tragedy brought them even closer. Scott’s grandson, Brian C. Scott, 21, was gunned down at 13th Place and Congress Street SE, becoming the city’s first homicide victim of 2011.
Five years earlier, Allen’s grandson, Jon Allen Jr., 15, was fatally shot on the same corner.
For the two grandmothers, the corner in the Congress Park neighborhood has become a shared reminder of personal loss. For the city, it is a grim symbol of the gun violence that has shattered so many families. Over the past decade, 17 people have been slain within a few yards of the intersection. The most recent was Ra-Heem Jackson, a 16-year-old basketball standout at H.D. Woodson High School who was shot April 7.
Six weeks ago, Scott forced herself to return to the corner. It was the first time she’d been back since Brian Scott was killed and another grandson, Tavon Bell, 21, was critically wounded.
With a microphone and a Bible, Scott brought out her church members, friends and as many residents as she could find for an anti-violence rally. They were there, she told the crowd, to “proclaim this street for peace.”
Sandy Allen was beside her.
“Sometimes you can save everybody else’s child but your own,” Scott said.
Read the whole story here.