Thursday, September 6, 2012

Graffiti removal as rehabilitation to start in the neighborhood

In the past, I've written quite a bit about gang tag graffiti in the neighborhood -- it's all over the place. If you've ever seen an "LC" or "CTU" tag, then you've seen a gang tag. Often they are on mailboxes, electrical boxes, and street lights. 

As they use the tags to mark or claim territory, I always call them in to 311 to get removed, and I recommend you do too (aside from being an eyesore.) However, it looks like there's a new effort underway, from local non-profit Words, Beats and Life, and Ward 1 councilmember Jim Graham. Sounds good to me. Words, Beats and Life was also involved with MuralsDC, a project where businesses and homeowners could request a mural on their external walls.
I am pleased to announce that Words, Beats, and Life (a Ward One based youth development arts organization) has been awarded a Tag Removal and Community Beautification contract through the Children's Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC). I had worked to secure this funding. The program will include employing youth committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) who have histories of property damage charges and demonstrate artistic abilities and the commitment to use those abilities in more positive ways as part of their rehabilitation. The intent of the program is to provide ways for youth to positively give back to the same communities where they have committed crimes by finding their artistic voice and building self-confidence and pride. 
Words, Beats, and Life will team up with the very popular MuralsDC Project which I originally funded and established at the Department of Public Works in 2007. DPW and Words, Beats, and Life will identify walls and spaces throughout the city that are repeatedly tagged with illegal graffiti, and in many instances, gang taggings. Words, Beats, and Life will then begin to work with the DYRS and respective communities to create a mural that is positive, reflective of the community, and the aspirations of particularly the youth in the community. 
If you would like to recommend a wall in your neighborhood that is repeatedly tagged, please send them directly to me at or call my office at 724.8181. 
Best, CM Jim Graham
The councilmember did something similar last year too.

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