This piece is part of our 21 Local Innovators To Watch roundup in the August 2022 print issue of District Fray. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
District Fray: Why you do what you do
Hayden Higgins: 730DC is a daily email newsletter [founded in 2013] all about what to know and what to do in D.C. that day. Why an email newsletter? It was cheap. And it solved a problem we could see in our peer groups. So many young people were moving to D.C. at that point. Lots of them cared about national or international causes, but few realized they could make a big difference in those issues right here locally. They were injecting “Politico” into their eyeballs but they didn’t know the history of the neighborhood they lived in or what local legislation was pending. We wanted to do something that would close that gap.
How you are helping
We think about our work as informing, provoking and engaging. Old-school news media stops at the first. Literary and political sites might provoke. And traditionally, it’s nonprofits, religious organizations or mass movements that engage people. We bundle all these together. We’ll tell you about a story, contextualize it so that you might see it in a new light, then connect you with groups in the community already working on it.
Who else is helping
Definitely our whole team. The production of 730DC is collective, and our team is about a dozen people. DC Abortion Fund and Collective Action for Safe Spaces are major beacons for bodily autonomy, shining ever so more brightly given all the darkness going on. Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America mobilized game-changing numbers of people to knock on doors, text and phone bank and otherwise volunteer for the victorious Zachary Parker campaign. They aren’t the only reason he won — don’t get me wrong — but between this and Janeese Lewis George’s victory, the socialists are flexing serious electoral muscle.
Where you escape in D.C.
I love watching baseball at the stadium, among people. If the fancy strikes, you can buy a ticket on Stubhub twenty minutes before the game, and get there by first pitch, if you’re close enough to a Metro or on a bike. I play Frisbee and pickup basketball, too. The last three things I did before the pandemic closed things down were play a frisbee game, ride the Metro, and see Bacchae at Songbyrd.
Where you go to escape D.C.
Shopping and eating in Hyattsville and Eden Center. The American Visionary Art Museum and of course games at Camden Yard in Baltimore. Dinner in Philadelphia — it’s not so very far.
I flew through the Neapolitan Novels early this year. “Dhalgren” by Samuel R. Delany [and his] book-length essay “Times Square Red,” “Times Square Blue,” and just about every page of “The Dawn of Everything” [by David Graeber + David Wengrow] had something I wanted to read a whole book about. In the absence of some of the more contagion-inducing activities that I’m still avoiding…I’m really reading too much, because I’m bored. DCPL knows.
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