DC Welcome’s New Board Members

February 21, 2011

A big welcome to our newest board member – the remarkable Mr Danny Harris.

Danny is the founder of Peoples District, the blog where he collects the fascinating stories of strangers from around the District of Columbia.

People’s District was my way of meeting the people I saw every day, but never stopped to introduce myself to: Carolyn, the crossing guard on my street; Cedric, who ran by my office most days, spinning in circles while yelling ‘HOOT, HOOT’; Dave, who rides his bike up and down my street in a finely tailored suit and fedora; and Josh, who checks my ID at the 9:30 Club. I saw these people more often than I saw my own family, yet I had never exchanged more than a ‘good morning’ or ‘thank you’ with them.

During one of those proverbial wake-up moments in July 2009, I stopped my first person to ask, ‘So, what’s your story?’ Joe, my first interviewee, spoke passionately about growing up on U Street and his first experience of going downtown after the end of segregation. After Joe came Andrew, talking about overcoming homelessness, then Eric and Maddie, discussing the D.C. hardcore music scene. Each story shed light on a new slice of D.C. life and brought me into the world of a complete stranger who was kind enough to share his or her story with me.

While I came to D.C. to be a civil servant in September 2006, it was People’s District that really exposed me to the beautiful, and, at times, tortured soul of this city. I would spend my days as a suit-wearing, ID-around–the-neck-trotting, turf-battling, NW-loving, Treasury Department terrorist financing policy analyst, who used words like ‘lessons learned’ and ‘value added.’ After work and on the weekends, I would shed my suit and travel to all corners of the city to learn about go-go music, the D.C. Summer Youth Employment Program, why D.C. is a great town for a dominatrix, and how people were working to make D.C. a more livable city. In February 2010, I left the government to pursue People’s District full-time and have since brought People’s District into the classroom and worked with local businesses, non-profits, and neighborhood associations to help them tell their stories.

Danny is passionate of the DC, and we’re super excited to have him join us on the board of Awesome. Check out Peoples District here: http://peoplesdistrict.com.

Guest Trustee of Awesome
We’re pioneering something a little different with our board here in DC. Each month, we’ll be introducing a Guest Trustee of Awesome to provide a fresh perspective and spread the awesomeness around.

So please give a warm Awesome welcome to our first guest Trustee: Tom Lee.

Tom grew up in Arlington, and has lived in the city since 2004. He’s currently the director of Sunlight Labs; before that he worked at EchoDitto, and before that he made truly abysmal websites for members of Congress.  His spare time tends to be taken up with technical projects — either hobbyist electronics or transit data experiments.

He’s written about music, tech policy, DC and other stuff for The American Prospect, DCist, Techdirt, Campus Progress, Progressive Fix and a bunch of other blogs.

He’s an amazing local talent, committed to making DC (and the world) more awesome everyday.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a guest trustee in the Capital of Awesome? Get in touch.