By Bruce Levine, Outgoing SWNA Board President

When my wife Sharron and I moved to Tiber Island in Fall 2013, I had it in my head to find ways to get involved in our new home neighborhood. I didn’t realize that when I asked Andy Litsky innocently for a suggestion as to how best to accomplish that that it would so quickly lead me to become involved with the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) as a Board member, interim President and then elected President over the past five years. I have decided to step down from the Board and the President position as of September 1, for a variety of reasons, but I am thankful for having had the honor of leading this venerable, and still vital, civic organization through a transition to ensure its relevance. More work clearly needs to be done but I feel good about what we have accomplished and the hands in which I leave SWNA, those of the amazing Donna Purchase who has agreed to be Acting President.  

I have had the pleasure of working and making friends with so many people who bring great energy, creativity and effort to making Southwest (and DC more broadly) the best community it can be. I do not plan to disappear into the woodwork and in fact am already involved with the new Southwest Community Foundation and several of the task forces SWNA has spawned. I also have some other ideas that I’d like to pursue over time that I believe are in the best interest of the SW Waterfront. There is much work to be done to help ensure that the quality of life here is all that it can be.

With that in mind, I want to encourage more of you to find outlets for contributing to that quality of life. Over the last few years, I have tried to recruit new blood into SWNA and our task forces and am glad to say that we have surfaced some terrific, talented people who are going to be helping us address issues ranging from transportation to open space to education. We are blessed with strong ANC leadership, a deeply involved Councilmember representing us, and the SWBID which has become a critical asset for our neighborhood in a relatively short time. I believe that to fully leverage these strengths we also need an active citizenry that works to ensure we have an inclusive community, that strives to preserve what is best about Southwest while also scanning the horizon for new resources, ideas and partners who can help to enhance our lives individually and collectively. Diverse voices should be welcomed and encouraged and I for one intend to push for that; at the same time, we collectively need to minimize unnecessary and unproductive divisiveness and instead direct our passion towards collaboratively addressing ongoing challenges.

My hope is that as I step back a bit there will be many of you who decide to step forward.

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