In 2013, several local grassroots base-building organizations agreed to use the upcoming city council session and mayoral campaign as an opportunity to promote a comprehensive, structurally-oriented policy agenda. While some gains were made over the years, like improving the living-wage and funding the Housing Production Trust Fund, we felt that much more needed to be done to address the needs of poor and low-income DC residents who have a right to live and work in this city.
In the following months, we hosted several neighborhood forums to solicit residents’ feedback on what they want to see from the next mayor. In these sessions, residents vehemently rejected what they saw as misguided leadership—public leaders who are eager to give corporate tax breaks and meet with developers willing to build stadiums, condos, and market-rate retail while ignoring long-time DC residents of color who ask that our public dollars be used instead for the development and preservation of limited equity housing cooperatives and other affordable housing communities. Ultimately, these residents expressed resounding support for structural reforms in housing and jobs. They also voiced a desire for the People’s Platform to be a comprehensive policy agenda that will cover additional issues as more residents and organizations join our alliance.
On March 8, 2014, a coalition of DC’s largest organizing groups of long-time, low-income residents of color came together to hold an interactive mayoral forum with questions created and posed by long-time DC residents. We challenged the candidates to answer to the need for truly affordable housing and greater economic opportunities for DC residents.
For our alliance, the electoral cycle is just the launching pad. We believe our movement for an equitable DC will take years and as such we have committed to working together for the long term to press for these much-needed structural alternatives.
Our policy reforms are rooted in our guiding principles, which we believe will truly manifest DC’s commitment to become a human rights city.
Here you will find our People’s Platform principles and policy demands, which grew out of our neighborhood forums and our historical organizing work in the District of Columbia. These legislative policy demands are meant to act as a roadmap for the city council for the fall of 2014 and beyond.