I met up with a journalism student from Howard University who was tasked with doing a short video report. Brittney chose to do it on the Year of Giving and asked to meet up with me and follow me around as I gave out my $10 for the day.
We met at 9am at the Starbucks on Howard’s campus. We spoke for a little while and then headed South down Georgia Avenue in search of a $10 recipient. We hung out near the Shaw Metro entrance but then decided to walk up to U Street. We came across the African American Civil War Memorial. You might recall that on day 79 I went to the memorial and then walked over to the museum and met with Hari, the curator of the African American Civil War Museum, and gave him my $10 for the day.
It was still early and the sun was shining bright on the 209,145 engraved names of the soldiers and officers who served in the United States Colored Troops.
There was a woman pushing a stroller slowly around the memorial. I approached her and asked if she would accept my $10. The woman, who I believe was a nanny from French-speaking Africa, declined to participate in the Year of Giving. She got nervous I think with the possibility of being on camera. I don’t know if she was here illegally or something, but she was pretty clear that she wanted to avoid any and all cameras.
I then spotted a man in a trench coat studying the monument. I walked up to Greg and asked him if he could help me with a project that I was doing. He heard me out and said he was ok with it.
Greg is 41 and lives in Virginia. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he has been in the greater Washington area for 10 years. Greg has been in the hotel and hospitality industry for many years. In fact, he transferred from Massachusetts to DC for a new job with the same hotel conglomerate that he works for now.
Greg was actually working when I ran into him. Well, it wasn’t obvious he was working. How many jobs pay you to check out monuments? Note to self: apply for Greg’s job!
Ok, he wasn’t getting paid to do that, but he was waiting for his hotel’s liquor license renewal paperwork to be issued around the corner. Greg explained that the district renews the licenses once a year on the same date for all establishments. It seems insane to process all of these licenses at the same time. It would seem to me that the office would be pretty slow for 11 months and then go crazy for one month.
Greg was getting ready for a week of vacation up in Massachusetts. He is a history buff and was excited that he was going to witness the reenactment the battles of Lexington and Concord. This year marks the 235th anniversary of the battles.
I asked Greg what he would do with the $10. He asked if I knew if there was an association or foundation supporting the memorial. I told him about my encounter with Hari and explained that the museum has a place for donations. He promised to walk over to the museum and make a donation. I told him to make sure that he said hello to Hari…who coincidentally I passed earlier that day as I walked over to Howard University and he walked to work.