Earlier last month, Washington, DC was able to experience a phenomenal civic engagement event: Moechella. An event title, which is a combination of D.C. slang "moe" and the annual California music event “Coachella”, Moechella was the first of many battle cries for D.C. natives to not only combat gentrification, but to also tell a city full of transplants that natives are here and they are proud and unapologetic about their culture. Images of the event can be found everywhere and captured the comraderie of the city and as well as its go-go music history. The event, which was organized by Long Live GoGo DC, was essentially a protest, with alot of swag. Moechella was a way for D.C. natives to stand up for their home, and say that D.C. 'aka' Chocolate City's history will not be forgotten as the city continues to change to accommodate the desires of non-D.C. natives. Many articles were written about Moechella because it truly was a show-stopper event due to its size, especially with no major advertisement.
The beauty of Moechella was its ability to mobilize local D.C. residents, especially D.C. natives who often feel forgotten as their city changes and their history slowly erases, to combat injustices in a peaceful manner. Although a big celebration, Moechella was a truly authentic form of civic engagement. From the way it mobilized participants by simply communicating with individuals about the event through word of mouth (an old-school but effective way to communicate with others), utilizing social media to bring more awareness about the injustices associated with gentrification with their social media campaign #DontMuteDC, and by continuing to encourage community members to uplift their voices for the betterment of their community by engaging in the social act of signing the #DontMuteDC petition. For far too long, native Washingtonians have been getting forced out of their communities and told to take their culture with them. Moechella was activism through the art of music and gave D.C. natives a way to say, “no, this is our home, this is our history, and you will not erase us.” Along with seeing this civic engagement momentum continue throughout all of D.C., especially in underserved/forgotten areas, we also hope to see, through the power of Moechella, changes in policies that combat the harmful practices of gentrification.
To stay up to date about what is next for Moechella and the organizers Long Live DC, make sure to follow them on IG: @longlivegogodc.