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The Invisible Ward 8

Truthout - After President Obama and his family attended Easter services in the poorest, blackest, most crime-ridden quadrant of Washington, his 22-car motorcade sped back across the Anacostia River to the picture-postcard, cherry-blossomy part of town. Left behind was a heartbreaking crime scene -- along with tens of thousands of people who have become as invisible as ghosts.

It is rare these days when two high-profile events, within a single week, train the spotlight even briefly on the too-large segment of the African-American population that remains mired in desperate poverty and self-sustaining dysfunction. The second event was the first family's visit to Allen Chapel AME Church for a joyous, high-spirited Easter celebration. The pastor, Rev. Michael Bell, described it as "a monumental moment for us as a community."

The first event took place at twilight on March 30. Gunmen in a minivan driven by a 14-year-old boy pulled up in front of a decrepit little apartment building, a popular hang-out spot for neighborhood teenagers, and fired indiscriminately into the crowd with handguns and an AK-47-style assault rifle. Four young people were killed and five others wounded. It was the most stunning outburst of senseless violence Washington had seen in years. Read more.

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