April 3, 2020 at 5:54 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Check It completes purchase of Anacostia buildings
Check It, gay news, Washington Blade
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) cut a red ribbon for the grand opening of Check It Enterprises in Southeast D.C. in 2017. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

In the midst of widespread business shutdowns in the D.C. area, the LGBTQ youth-run company and community services center Check It Enterprises went to settlement on April 1 for its purchase of the three small buildings in Anacostia it has been renting since 2016, clearing the way for plans to expand its programs.

Ron Moten, Check It’s managing member and cofounder who serves as adviser to the youth members, said the coronavirus-related stay-at-home order and nonessential business shutdowns have temporarily stopped an ongoing renovation project at the buildings.

They are located at 2018, 2020 and 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E., in the center of the Anacostia business district. Moten said Check It, which among other things operates a t-shirt manufacturing and sales business, is currently using the building at 2020 Martin Luther King Ave., S.E., and subleasing the other two buildings to community groups.

He noted that one of its newest tenants ­— once the coronavirus emergency is lifted — will be D.C.’s newly founded go-go museum that will honor and showcase people and groups involved in the go-go music scene.

The purchase of the buildings was made possible by a $2 million city grant authorized by legislation approved by the D.C. Council last month and signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Council member Robert White (D-At-Large), who introduced the legislation, talked about Check It’s history at a Council hearing on the pending legislation last November. He called Check It a community supportive enterprise that “fosters entrepreneurship and is a safe space for LGBTQ youth.”

White noted that Check It had its origins in 2012 as a fledgling LGBTQ youth fashion clothing project started by members of what had been known as the Check It youth gang created by LGBTQ youth to protect themselves from bullying and violent attacks.

Others who testified at the Council hearing said that in addition to selling fashion apparel, Check It uses its headquarters building to teach young people about the fashion industry through silk screening and sewing classes. They said Check It also makes its space available for services to the surrounding community, including sex education classes, a vegetable garden, community meeting space and a resource center that links youth to counseling and other mental and emotional support services.

In addition to offering exhibits, plans for the go-go museum at the Check It building call for a stage for live performances, a studio for bands to record music and a café.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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