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When Local Kids Couldn’t Afford To See Black Panther, This New Co-Working Community Stepped In

Hyattsville's Dream Village is more than a place to plug in your computer.
Dream Village founder Eunique Jones Gibson is building a different kind of creative space. Photograph by Melena DeFlorimonte for M. Shonell Photography.

On a recent Sunday afternoon in Hyattsville, Eunique Jones Gibson welcomed the inaugural members of her new coworking space, Dream Village. Dressed casually in red-and-white Jordans, a gray hoodie, and blue jeans, the entrepreneur and digital marketer explained to the small group—which included Hyattsville mayor Candace Hollingsworth and a handful of other local professionals—that her concept is much more than a nice place to plug in your laptop. Gibson hopes to build an Afrocentric hub where members are encouraged to celebrate and support one another. “It’s a safe space where you are connected and everyone wants you to win,” she said at the event. “There are no egos here. It’s really about the bigger mission.”

Gibson, a Prince George’s County native who used to work in online advertising, is best known as the creator of Because of Them We Can, a campaign celebrating black history that went viral in 2013 and led to a book and popular line of T-shirts and other products.

At just over 1,000 square feet, the space is decorated with African accents and offers books by authors of color (Zadie Smith, Questlove) on a communal shelf. Members can access high-speed internet and grab free coffee, but the real draw is the collaborative bent. Members get together for “Feedback Fridays” and in general help each other however they can.

That spirit extends beyond the Village’s walls. At a discussion of the superhero film Black Panther organized by Gibson earlier this year, a teacher at a Southeast DC charter school mentioned that many of her students couldn’t afford to see it. So Dream Village’s members banded together and bought tickets for 136 third- and fourth-graders. “It was so dope,” says Gibson. “We want everything to spill out into the community.”

This article appeared in the May 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

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