"Gentrification is no particular race, color or creed just people coming together and building a community,” said Tessie Robinson.
Robinson moved to Shaw in 1971 when the neighborhood in northwest D.C. was still living in the ashes of the riots. A lot has changed in the landscape since then but the community is still struggling to rise with it.
"There are new faces, yes, but the faces here have the same interests as the old faces," she said.
Robinson, who is the tenant association president in her building, has embraced the changes; asking questions and becoming part of the process.
However, she said for those who don't, "You get swallowed up and consumed; holding on to this bad poison. It kills you, it sucks the life out of you, and instead of allowing that to happen find out what part of it you can play that can help you."
But she said there are still growing pains.
"We haven't eliminated the drug problem but I can say its not as thick as it used to be. They're medicating themselves. They're not accepting the change so they numb themselves. And then when I have to see on the news someone got robbed, killed..and for what? And I find out it's the youth, the young men we have here. They need role models, someone to help them help themselves. I talk to these kids and say you know you shouldn't do that and some say they're not my child and I should mind my own but that's the problem. We got to care about each other. I care because I thought no one person care about me and found it out to be fear. I do care and everybody needs to care about each other because if we don't, we're not going to make it."