November 7, 2012

The Post couldn’t be more right in reproaching Metro for its proposal to cut back bus service in parts of Anacostia [“The wrong route,” editorial, Nov. 6]. The given reason for the possible change is people throwing stones and bricks at buses. While this behavior is deplorable, it is symptomatic of serious problems in Anacostia.

As a resident of the community, I am tired of the District’s neglect of the high rates of poverty and unemployment there. That’s the root of the brick-throwing problem.

Is Metro considering the needs of anyone in Anacostia who works late? There is a clear race and class bias in this city. As The Post suggested, authorities would never throw up their hands at a threat to public safety in Georgetown or Capitol Hill.

In the short term, to prevent more throwing of stones and bricks at Metro buses, there must be better involvement of the community. In the long term, we must empower Anacostia’s youth with the access, opportunity, skills and confidence to rise and lead. It is time for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and others to prioritize the problem of income inequality in the District.

One fix is job creation. The more sustainable fix, however, lies in education. There is a 73-point gulf between the District’s white and black eighth-graders on math exams, more than double the national average gap of 31 points. These disparities make for difficult social mobility, something this nation knows all too well. If we are to fix these problems, we should start at home, in our back yard and in our nation’s capital. And that begins in Anacostia.

Michael Shank, Washington