Dr. Geoff Johnson was the guest speaker at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Men of Faith Fellowship Breakfast in October (2019). Johnson spoke on issues affecting men in the District of Columbia, Maryland, & Virginia (DMV). The purpose of this fellowship was to “develop capable and courageous men to lead their families, their communities and the church.” Johnson held a highly interactive discussion that addressed diversity issues since the 1970s when Washington DC was affectionally known as “Chocolate City.” According to Census data, 41 percent of the District's population identifies as Black; whereas, 45 percent identify as White. This shift in demographics has cascading impacts on struggling local communities seeking to maintain their first-generation properties.
Diversity entails recognizes differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. However, diversity has also been associated with gentrification and the displacement of low income residents. Seventy-seven percent of DC residents were identified as low income in 2000; sixteen years later this number has dropped to twenty-one percent (2016). Currently, a person would have to be employed full-time and earn at least $35.00 per hour to afford a 2-bedroom home, which rent for approximately $1,800 per month without utilities. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the Districts residents currently hold bachelor degrees.
The Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church is noted for its active engagement and community outreach. The invitation was extended to Dr. Johnson by Mrs. Mary Douglas-Brown, who also serves as a advisory board member for DC Project Connect. In the past, Mrs. Douglas-Brown worked with DC Project Connect Volunteers to prepare care packages for the ladies at the Fairview Residential Reentry Center (halfway house). We at DCPC love this lady!