By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFRO

When Angel Anderson saw {Washingtonian Magazine} launch a social media campaign that did not include Black residents while claiming to represent the District of Columbia, the first call she made was to local activist Tony Lewis.

“I felt neglected, just kind of left out and immediately, Tony and I got on the phone and we’re like, ‘We need to do something, we need to put out a counter image, a counter narrative,’ because there are Black people in D.C. and there are natives in D.C. and so it’s important for us to do this and use our social media platform,” Anderson told the AFRO.

District natives Angel Anderson and Tony Lewis Jr. gathered D.C. residents to showcase the true diversity of Washingtonians. (Photo by Lenore Adkins)

Together, the duo put together the “I’m Not a Tourist, I’m From Here” social media campaign. Its May 20 photo shoot brought hundreds of Black residents to Union Market, which Lewis dubbed “Old Florida Avenue Market”

Dressed in Black T-shirts that read “Native,” “Chocolate City,” “I’m Not A Tourist. I’ve Been Here,” “So Southeast” and other messages, residents clapped back in a show of unity against Washingtonian’s “I’m Not a Tourist. I Live Here” marketing campaign.

Lewis and Anderson launched their counter campaign days after Washingtonian previewed its marketing campaign on Instagram that showed non-Black residents wearing T-shirts with the slogan, “I’m not a tourist. I live here.” The tone-deaf campaign drew widespread backlash over complaints that Washingtonian was attempting to whitewash the city, which is still majority Black, despite ongoing gentrification. The magazine eventually deleted the offending post and apologized for the lack of diversity.

Lewis said he’ll keep the momentum going by mobilizing the photoshoot’s participants to fight for education, political representation, economic equity, safer neighborhoods and a better quality of life.

“Pay attention, we’re still here,” Lewis told the AFRO. “We ain’t going nowhere.”

The images from the “I’m not a tourist. I’ve been here” photoshoot are available on Anderson and Lewis’s Instagram handles, which are @TheSpiceSuite and @mrtonylewis. You can also find images using the hashtag #DCNATIVE.