On Thursday evening, members of the People’s Platform Alliance will hold a peace vigil to call attention to the increasing loss of affordable housing in the District. The vigil will take place before the Mayoral Forum in front of Anacostia High School located at 1601 16th ST SE.
People’s Platform is a campaign aimed at holding D.C. Councilmembers accountable for the massive displacement of long-time, low-income D.C. residents. Residents throughout the city have crafted a comprehensive policy agenda with the aim of ensuring a more equitable D.C. that includes, but is not limited to the development of housing co-ops, permanent housing affordability, a moratorium on all public housing demolition and redevelopment.
“D.C. Councilmembers have created this problem of displacement.” says Phyllissa Bilal, long-time D.C. resident of Barry Farm. “Should residents be forced to leave because of poor city management? Why should the residents be removed from their homes and social networks they created to survive?” Barry Farm is public housing complex located in Southeast Washington D.C. slated for demolition and redevelopment, which could potentially result in the displacement of hundreds of families.
“I do not understand D.C. Councilmembers’ failure to respond to this crisis” Endegen Merekubu, resident of Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments. “D.C. government officials were fully aware the affordable housing programs were set to expire, but were not proactive in preventing this situation.” After living in their homes for close to twenty years, Mount Vernon Plaza residents received a two-month notice of a $600+ a month rent increase. Residents had two choices – pay the rent increase or vacate.
“Both situations at Barry Farm and Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments demonstrate the need to preserve of affordable housing, but to invest affordable housing programs for D.C. residents,” says Rosemary Ndubuizu, community organizer for ONE DC. “Neither Bowser or Catania has a clear plan on how to meet those goals.”
The People’s Platform Alliance will hold a peace vigil in remembrance of the thousands forced to leave the city and ultimately the loss of community in the District. Afterwards community members will move inside to Anacostia High School to demand mayoral candidates to take a more comprehensive approach to protecting affordable housing in the District.
Press contact: Rosemary Ndubuizu, ONE DC organizer
Join Us Tonight!
WHAT: People’s Platform Peace Vigil
WHERE: Ward 8 Mayoral Forum
Academies at Anacostia High School
1601 16th ST SE
WHEN: TONIGHT, Thursday, October 16th at 6:00 PM
For more information call or text 202.760.4875 or email email@example.com
By Diondra Hicks
My experience as a Kalmanovitz Initiative Summer Organizing Fellow with ONE DC was utterly amazing. It afforded me the opportunity to do meaningful work with very interesting people. I do not believe that most summer interns can arrive at their workplace as excited and eager to see what new endeavors the day will bring as I was this summer. Each day of my internship I walked into work not really knowing what to expect. I learned that grassroots community organizing is a job in which you must be open-minded because anything can happen. New issues, people, and tasks are constantly being introduced and it takes a lot of time and knowledge to be able to effectively intertwine these seemingly distant pieces to create movements for change.
So on our first day at ONE DC, Dominic instructed us to simply walk around the neighborhood and take note of what we observed. I was able to detect that the Shaw neighborhood had a deeply rooted history with Howard University, a colorful mural of Chuck Brown, and the infamous U Street corridor. But I could also see the impeding emergence of gentrification in the neighborhood as many new, fanciful housing developments situated on the same blocks with aged townhouses and public housing facilities seemed largely out of place. Without a doubt, gentrification was changing and even erasing the physical culture and history of the Shaw neighborhood in ways as explicit as the displacement of many residents in the area. On day two of my internship, Reece said to me, “Millions of anonymous people is what history is about.” This statement would prove to define a lot of the work I engaged in during my summer at ONE DC.
During our first few days at ONE DC we were given lots of information to read about ONE DC’s history, essential rules of being a community organizer, phases of oppression, emotional justice, radical movements, direct action, and much more. However, the most valuable knowledge I gained came from my experiences. I can group my experiences at ONE DC into three major categories: research on Ban the Box legislation, planning right to income meetings, and work around the creation of a Black Workers’ Center for DC. My second week at ONE DC was filled with Ban the Box legislation research as ONE DC was seeking to become a supporter of this legislation.
Ban the Box has been the catch phrase for a series of campaigns around the nation to remove the check box on job and housing applications that asks if one has ever been convicted of a crime or felony. Usually, upon truthfully checking this box an applicant’s paper work is disregarded as a qualified applicant. Banning this box aids the 25% of all American adults which have been convicted of a crime. It makes them more likely to be able to provide for their families and less likely to return to prison. We shared news of Ban the Box with individuals ONE DC had contact with in the past and were glad to see the DC City Council push the bill onto Congress on July 14th, although with some undesirable amendments.
Under their Right to Income campaign, ONE DC held monthly listening sessions to hear from the individuals the organization seeks to build power with. Most people were contacted due to their involvement in the Marriott Jobs Program, a job training and hiring project put together by multiple partners in order to ensure that DC residents were hired for a DC job opportunity at the Marriott. Unfortunately, the program ended in a lot of disappointment for the applicants involved. Many people simply never heard anything back from the Marriott. These listening sessions were held to create a safe space in which individuals could express their frustrations with not only the Marriott Jobs program but also with the state of unfair hiring and employment practices all over the District. Reece themed these sessions with ‘The Five Phases of Oppression.'
During my time at ONE DC I helped to plan the sessions on Power and Violence. During the Power listening session we used snippets from Richard Pryor stand-up sets that demonstrated unproportional injustices for Blacks in America. The Violence listening session allowed people to voice their experiences of employers’ harsh, demeaning, and unfair tendencies on jobs. There is one more listening session to be held to cover The Five Phases of Oppression. After all of the sessions have been held the staff at ONE DC will compile all the information, experiences, and suggestions made by DC workers in order to create a mission and vision for a Black Workers’ Center in DC.
The rate of unemployment for Black workers is twice that of White unemployment. In addition, Black workers are 25% more likely to be underemployed than White workers. In these positions of underemployment, Black workers are often mistreated on their jobs. Low wage jobs have a poor reputation for practices of wage theft and other violence against workers. Reece introduced the idea of a Black Workers’ Center to ONE DC to make working conditions better, create better jobs, and fight against bad work and bad employers. He talked enthusiastically about the Center and was able to grab the attention and curiosity of others with his pitch.
Over time at ONE DC though, I found myself unable to really define what the Black Workers’ Center (BWC) would be or what it would do. It took encouragements from many people, some even without knowledge of my lack of comprehension, to speak up about my opinions of the work I was participating in and one day I finally did. I expressed to Reece that I felt the wording around the BWC was vague and I was unable to give a strong pitch for it because I was unsure of the vision for and actions of the BWC. This conversation led to an entire day of Reece and me working though the communications around the BWC and became the highlight of my time at ONE DC. Over several weeks Reece and I edited our write up for the BWC, adding strategic information and steps. I am really proud of the work that we did and while the information surrounding the Black Workers Center is still subject to change, I feel really good about making the message more direct and clear. I believe I have developed a strong suit for work in communications.
Pushing the creation of a Black Workers’ Center required me to meet individuals in the community to try to get to know them on a more personal level. During house visits and meetings I met many interesting people with a range of life stories and dreams for their futures. We are hopeful that the BWC can be instrumental in initiating change in the lives of some of these people and many more. We have gathered individuals who want to respond to the Marriot Jobs Program asking for explanations for the disappointments of the hiring process, people who currently work for Marriott and want to stand up to their unfair employers, residents who have a background in healthcare and dream of having ownership in a healthcare business, and individuals who simply just want better job opportunities. The vision of the BWC supports the realization of all of these goals for the workers of Washington, DC.
I learned so much from my experience at ONE DC and each day was enjoyable. I even got the opportunity to dabble in a little bit of the housing work ONE DC does. I was a little saddened by how quickly my time ended there. Hopefully though, I will be able to return to ONE DC in some capacity during the school year. The internship with ONE DC gave me a real world experience with real people who live in it; not some glamorous office suite job, but hard work with people who need help and social justice. The work grassroots community organizers do is not important because it involves big names and events that will be recorded in history text books; the work they do is important because of the thousands of anonymous lives they touch to effect change for the underserved and create a history of progression with those individuals.
By Brenda Hayes, This Light: Sounds for Social Change
In a town rife with Non-Profits that seemingly have all the answers for what ails longtime D.C. residents as they face gentrification-fueled displacement, ONE DC’s July 26th meeting was a much needed breath of fresh air for me. I asked permission to record the meeting for my radio show This Light: Sounds For Social Change, thankfully permission was granted to me to do so.
The meeting opened with a visual recap of June’s meeting. A 1950 to present timeline of redlining and economic cycles that lead to displacement hung on one of the walls. An adjacent wall held a visual that had the word “Concentrated Poverty” written in the center, surrounding those words were some of the commonly held beliefs about people who live in poverty; rampant drug abuse, crime, apathy.
We all sat in a familiar “meeting circle,” introduced ourselves and said how long each of us has lived in D.C.; there was one man who has lived in D.C. since birth, 60+ years.
Next we were led to do an exercise in which attendees were asked to present a physical movement that represents their perspective of gentrification and displacement. Some of the poses and movements included a young white woman who stood with her back to the rest of the group as she covered her eyes, blind to what was going on just behind her. A few people held stances of defiance, arrogance, indifference and helplessness.
For the second part of the exercise, we were asked to physically represent empowerment, action and change. I was most struck by what one Shaw resident, who happens to be a black woman, did; she held an invisible protest sign high above her head, two young white participants quickly stood in support behind her holding their invisible placards up. What these three participants represented to me is the need for community lead, driven, and sustained movement for equity in housing, work, and education.
Before the meeting, I interviewed longtime community activist Linda Leaks who handed out Terms of Empowerment, a seven page glossary of housing-related terms in which residents should become familiar when trying to remain in neighborhoods besieged by gentrification.
I also interviewed Patricia Trim, a 40+ year Shaw resident. During our conversation Ms. Trim told me how her mother would come to D.C. during the week for her job with the Federal Government and leave her with relatives in Virginia. Ms. Trim’s mother couldn’t afford to have her stay here in D.C. until she was sixteen years old. Ms. Trim and her mother moved several times, Champlain Street in Adams Morgan, 18th and Wyoming, 17th and T Sts., each time staying in apartments until the rent was raised to a prohibitively high amount.
Ms. Trim recently drove to Columbia Heights to see a dentist on 14th Street. As she drove to her appointment she realized she was in the neighborhood where she grew up. After her appointment, she
decided to drive around a bit and was astonished at and dismayed by all the changes that have taken place in recent years. She couldn’t bring herself to drive down Champlain Street the street where she first lived when she and her mother moved to D.C.
When she arrived back home that day, she went to her bedroom to pray. She tearfully asked “What I have done to fall so far from grace to be treated less than a human being.” I fear too many D.C. residents people are asking that same question.
My name is Phyllissa Bilal and I am the cofounder of the Barry Farm Study Circle. Though I am the cofounder of BFSC I feel it necessary to present as a public housing resident in addition to cofounder of the Barry Farm Study Circle. Below I have included my accounts of causes to question the application to demolish the Barry Farm community due to violation of the basic human rights of residents in the community.
Soon after moving into the community in January of 2012 I found out the community was in the process of being redeveloped and my family would soon have to move. I thought how could management forget to share that with me prior to my move-in date? I sent an email to the project manager Reyna Alloro who called me and told me that I would not have to move for at least two years. I would soon receive email invitations to project and planning meetings in the resident council office. These meetings led me to question the process even further. During this time I was volunteering for the resident council to take the minutes for meetings on the property. Ultimately I was questionably excused from the resident council. I started the Barry Farm Study Circle after testifying at the DCHA Counsel to try to get a better understanding of how this resident council was operating and attending meetings where the human rights, wants, needs and questions of residents were being completely ignored. For example, at a meeting facilitated by Janice Burgess in 2012 I questioned her directing residents to move to offsite housing specifically Matthews Memorial Terrace and Sheridan Terrace. I asked her if residents who had already been relocated would write their rental checks to DCHA as they had done while living in the Barry Farm community. Her response was no. I then asked her if Matthews and Sheridan are tax credit properties and if residents had entered into a tax credit property lease. Her answer was yes. My answer to her was that means these residents are no longer housing authority residents therefore how can they be placed back on the housing authority list since it had closed. She agreed they would not be allowed back on the list. I attended two other meetings one of which was an oversight hearing facilitated by Muriel Bowser where Linda Miller the former Resident Council president gave heartbreaking testimony that she had been tricked into moving to offsite housing and now was being told she cannot return. She gave similar testimony in a meeting facilitated by the cofounder of the Barry Farm Study Circle and the Chairperson to the Citywide Advisory Board Karen Settles.
Additionally, in 2012 I sent a letter to Reyna Alloro who is the DMPD project manager for the Barry Farm property asking for better clarification about the redevelopment process which turned into an invitation to attend planning meetings in the resident council office. As stated before, those meetings left me with more questions and concerns. One evening in particular I received a call from Janice Burgess of the DC Housing Authority. She said she had been given my name by Nella Peterson the resident council president at the time and Ms. Burgess was going to give me a list of developers and I would have to go through them and condense the list down to seven. Then she said that the deadline would be the next morning at 8am. I declined her request and sent an email to Ms. Peterson explaining why I declined, stating that I felt it was not a fair process to the residents of the community. In short the Barry Farm Study Circle believes the continued path of demolishing public housing properties will only increase homelessness in DC. In fact, DCHA has not been transparent or inclusive in their process to redevelop our historical community and have used other harmful tactics against us, which I will not include at this time. As I wake up some mornings and look out my windows I still do not know why the houses of some of my neighbors have been boarded up and, more ominously, where are they now.
Today the rights of public housing residents have been violated all across the city. There has only been a 8-13% return rate of residents to their original and newly developed communities. And in the case of Temple Courts no return rate at all because the community is now a parking lot renting spaces for $8 a day.
More recently the Barry Farm Study Circle had received several complaints of a 30 day eviction notices and suddenly inflated rental ledgers for amounts such as $6000. Through our partnership with the United Planning Organization Petey Greene Center we found their housing caseworkers shared the same concern for the influx of complaints and requests for support. We put together an outreach team consisting of United Planning Organizations workers, One DC organizers and members, and American University students. We did door-to-door outreach in Barry Farm on March 22nd in the Barry Farm community to collect 30 eviction notices and inflated rental ledgers, as well as to connect residents with legal support and other resources through our partnership with Neighborhood Legal Services.
The fight to have the voices and basic human rights of Barry Farm public housing residents protected and included in the redevelopment process continues. We only asked that the Zoning Commission take a stand against the human rights violations that continue in the Barry Farm community.
Cofounder Barry Farm Study Circle
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
ONE DC is seeking a creative and dynamic individual with a proven track record to join the ONE DC team as a Community Organizer. The successful candidate will:
- Serve as strategic principals for the campaign work. Community organizers are responsible for coordinating weekly outreach goals, including outreach strategy, membership recruitment, leadership development, one-on-one’s, and coalition building activities;
- Must exercise a collaborative and inclusive approach to leadership development and membership recruitment to Right to Income campaigns.
- Work with Organizing and Coalition Building Committee to implement popular education and organizing strategies to achieve community controlled development, living wage jobs, local hiring policies, and worker cooperatives in Washington, DC.
- Research and Develop a Black Worker’s Center to focus on structural unemployment, employment issues for African American workers/unemployed and other people of color, and to develop economic alternatives such as worker cooperatives that support workplace democracy and living wages. Manage the Center’s Steering Committee and Advisory Board.
- Develop an analysis of, reflection on, and action about workforce development challenges connected with ONE DC’s recent efforts to work with the city and the new Marriott Hotel at the Convention Center to have 500 DC residents employed at the new hotel.
- Build coalitions with partner organizations to achieve citywide employment policy goals through the People’s Platform
- Conduct 15-25 hours of outreach, leader visits, etc. per week with Right to Income members and recruits.
- Assist in mentoring Right to Income members and ONE DC organizing apprentices.
- Secure media coverage of ONE DC organizing work.
- Assist in the planning and implementation of ONE DC organizational events.
- Perform organizing campaign-related administrative tasks as needed and appropriate to sustaining the organization.
- Attend regular staff meetings, Shared Leadership Team meetings, and other campaign-related sessions, etc.
- Report directly to Resource Organizer; in addition, ONE DC’s Personnel Committee will conduct evaluation and exit interviews.
- Several years of demonstrated direct organizing/base building experience;
- Strong computer and internet skills;
- Ability to build unity and motivate others to action;
- Good communication skills, written, verbal, and interpersonal; and
- Self-motivated and skilled at working as part of a team.
Must be a resident in the DMV area, DC residents are strongly encouraged to apply and given strong preference;
- Must be willing to commit to at least a 2 years involvement in ONE DC;
- Knowledge of Washington, DC issues and organizations;
- Learn about and commit to ONE DC’s organizing model;
- Willingness and ability to work with diverse community residents, particularly low-income residents, to address barriers to developing their strength as a community;
- Spanish, Amharic, or Chinese language proficiency preferred;
- Strong research skills;
- Eye for detail;
- Flexible hours, including a willingness to work evenings and weekends;
- Creativity and sense of humor;
- A desire to deepen political analysis and learn about the history of social movements;
- A reflexive professional practice and active commitment to self-critique;
- Willingness to engage in honest, though constructive, mindful, and compassionate reciprocal critique of work with teams and other staff.
ONE DC offers a generous salary and benefits package. ONE DC is strongly committed to staff development and training. This is an opportunity for an individual to build meaningful relationships with grassroots communities and to be a part of real, concrete social change. People of color, women, LGBTQ and bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.
Please submit resume and cover letter (including salary expectations) electronically to email@example.com. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
About ONE DC:
ONE DC (formerly Manna CDC) was founded in 1997 in the midst of rapid neighborhood change. Our work centers on popular education, community organizing, and alternative economic development projects. Stemming from a deep analysis of race, class, gender, and power, our approach to community development addresses the structural causes of poverty and injustice in Shaw and throughout the District.
Moving beyond service provision, ONE DC builds the political capacity of low-income people of color in order to create and preserve racial and economic equity in the district. Our grassroots leadership development draws deeply on the principles and achievements of Ella Baker and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). We seek to learn from and build upon this history and that of people-led movements for justice and human rights throughout the world.
About the Right to Income Campaign:
ONE DC's Right to Income campaign supports longtime DC residents struggling for living wages, decent working conditions, and for DC to enforce and uphold the local hiring laws. We work against displacement of longtime DC residents of color. We conduct listening sessions with DC residents to let their concerns be heard. We use popular education to inform and organize workers and the unemployed about and around their concerns. Through direct action and a slew of other organizing strategies, we demand and work to ensure that jobs stay in DC, are offered to longtime local residents of color, pay living wages with benefits, and that the city put resources into supporting workers, the longtime unemployed, and the development of worker cooperatives and worker ownership. Our citywide People’s Platform advocates for policy initiatives and legislation that will create and support good jobs in DC and end the displacement of longtime residents in an increasingly inequitable city.
Organizationally, ONE DC has formally implemented a non-hierarchical, shared leadership structure that recognizes, supports and encourages the abilities and contributions of its board, members, and staff. In addition, ONE DC desires applicants who are self-starters and motivated to perform at high levels and can meet strict deadlines.
We've brought our demands
to the DC City Council and returned on September 22 to hear their response. Now it's time to take action to make sure the People's Platform policies are introduced to preserve affordable housing, ensure community control over land, and create an economy in DC that supports ALL of its residents!
The People's Platform is a multi-organization, multi-year alliance made up of long-time, low-income DC residents who are organizing around the following principles:
● Community control over land use
● Development without displacement
● Permanent housing affordability
● Community and family stability
● Community and family wealth creation
Don't forget to sign your endorsement of the People's Platform!
ONE DC is seeking creative and dynamic individuals with a genuine interest in getting on-the-ground experience with community organizing around economic & racial justice issues, as well as a strong desire to learn, grow, and contribute to social change and community-building campaigns.
We are currently seeking interns to support our on-going campaigns and administrative work.
Organizing Intern Responsibilities
- Help recruit and develop relationships with ONE DC members by conducting outreach via phone banking, one-on-one visits, and neighborhood door-knocking throughout the District.
- Help develop leadership capacity of ONE DC members
- Research economic and racial justice issues and legislation related to the Black Workers’ Center, Right to Income, Right to Housing, or People's Platform campaigns.
- Attend staff meetings and strategizing sessions
- Assist with facilitation and planning of ONE DC organizational and campaign events and popular education workshops
- Track organizing and outreach efforts through data entry into Nation Builder contact database.
- Help develop and/or edit outreach materials such as flyers, email blasts, and social media posts
Administrative Intern Responsibilities
- Update ONE DC database (Nation Builder) to track membership, donations, and attendance at events.
- Import spreadsheets from events and campaign meetings
- Apply appropriate tags for individuals and organizations based on campaign interest, location, method of signup, email list, etc.
- Merge duplicate memberships
- Enter donation & paid membership information
- Assist with communications through social media, email blasts, and website updates
- Help edit email blasts and monthly e-newsletter
- Edit & publish website, Facebook, Twitter posts
- Attend ONE DC staff meetings and take notes or facilitate as needed
- Attend & help facilitate ONE DC events & campaign meetings as needed
- Assist with outreach for organizing, meetings, and events
- Phone banking
- Outreach Days
- Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
- Demonstrated interest in direct, grassroots organizing, base building, and membership development.
- Strong computer and internet research skills
- Ability to build unity and motivate others to action
- Skilled at working as a part of a team
- Flexible hours and ability to work some evenings & weekends.
- Knowledge of Washington, DC issues and organizations
- Spanish or Amharic language proficiency a plus
- Knowledge of social justice issues surrounding race, class, gender, & sexuality.
- High level of empathy, curiosity, and autonomy
- Eye for detail
- Desire to deepen a political analysis and learn about the history of social movements
- A reflective professional practice and active commitment to self-critique
- Willingness to engage in honest, constructive, mindful, and compassionate reciprocal critique of work with teams and other staff
- Knowledge of Nation Builder a plus
- Develop organizing skills and learn about methods, strategies, and challenges
- Learn ONE DC history and organizing strategy
- Learn DC organizing history and present economic and racial issues faced by DC residents, such as displacement and unemployment, and current movements to effect change
- Develop communication skills
- Learn about DC housing and employment policy issues and other community organizations in DC
- Gain Nation Builder skills
- Approximately 10-15 hours per week in office and in the community. Ability to work some evenings and weekends for campaign events, meetings, and outreach as needed.
- We cannot provide stipends at this time, but will work with your school, university, or program to provide course credit or verify community service hours.
- Native Washingtonians and/or DC residents given strong preference.
- People of color, women, LGBTQ and bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.
- To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with resume and cover letter.