By Rob Wohl
For the past three months, ONE DC has been organizing a series of community learning forums called “From the Streets to the Rooftops” to bring together long-time residents as well as newcomers to DC to develop a shared analysis of the processes of gentrification and displacement that are affecting our neighborhoods.
In the first session, we learned about the structural forces driving displacement, focusing on how systematic disinvestment in low income communities of color intensifies poverty while creating opportunities for developers, banks, and other real estate interests to make big profits by buying up cheap land, building expensive housing, and marketing it to wealthier residents. Next, we studied the mythology that drives and justifies the displacement of long-time residents of DC and other cities. We discussed how politicians and academics have masked the problem of poverty, discrimination, and disinvestment in communities of color by pathologizing “concentrated poverty.” When the public is convinced that the city’s main problems result from too many poor people living together, displacing those people and bringing in new, affluent, whiter residents can be treated as the solution.
In our most recent session, we began to study the ways that communities have come together to resist displacement. We brought together a panel of organizers of six community leaders and organizers from DC and Baltimore to draw lessons from fights to preserve public housing, ensure that long-time residents have the right to return when their homes are redeveloped, hold landlords accountable to their tenants, and ensure that our city’s “redevelopment” and “revitalization” plans remain inclusive.
And we’re not done yet. Join ONE DC, community artists, organizers, new and longtime residents on Saturday, July 26th as we explore the cultural diversity of DC through music, poetry, art, and interactive activities. Join in the group meditation and reflection, and participate in discussions around topics of local concern which include the economic cycle of gentrification, the myths of poverty and entitlement, and the successes and challenges of past movements. As we celebrate our shared human experiences and our cultural diversity simultaneously, we will explore the next steps to fight gentrification and the displacement of communities.
We’ll come together from 1-5 PM at Impact Hub DC, 419 7th St NW, and we hope to see you there.
By Bianca Valencia, The George Washington University
From the start of the planning committee, GW’s Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service (CCEPS) was excited to have the opportunity to partner with a strong, substantive, community-based organization like ONE DC. The collaboration between Gregory Squires (GW) and Dominic Moulden (ONE DC) in writing the social policy article entitled “Equitable Development Comes to DC” truly initiated a great start. The symposium that occurred on Thursday, March 27, 2014 brought about 120 participants.
It was wonderful to have local residents and GW academic faculty and students all come together for this event. Each of them had the opportunity to learn from one another and grow in their networks. In regards to students, it is essential that they not only learn from books, but also from people within their field of study. In this way, they learn to value the knowledge that comes from the community members’ life experiences. This creates a greater sense of pride and connection between their major and the surrounding environment.
The planning committee consisted of the executive director from CCEPS (Amy Cohen), resource organizer from ONE DC (Dominic Moulden), GW sociology, public policy, and public administration professor (Dr. Gregory Squires), adjunct professor at American University (Kalfani Ture), and two GW student event coordinators (Leah Galasso and Bianca Valencia). They each played a critical role in determining the needs of the symposium and executing those plans. Specifically, it was absolutely great to work with Kalfani because of his involved nature with equitable development. In fact, he was an intern for ONE DC, and is currently a doctoral candidate of anthropology and an approaching faculty member.
As for the student coordinators, Leah and Bianca were both able to grow and develop new skills since working on the symposium. They both quickly realized that committee meetings were starkly different from a classroom environment. They also never worked in a participatory democracy before. However, after the readjustment period, both students were able to create their own mark and coordinate with each other in order to complete various tasks. By the end, they both became more confident in not only approaches of creating a large-scale event, but also in group collaboration.
Overall, the Equitable Development Symposium was a tremendous success. The hope is to make this event annual as to increase awareness and draw more networks to create solutions to the current problem. The Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, as well as the GW community are more than excited to continue their partnership with ONE DC.
Save the Date: 2nd Annual Equitable Development Conference - March 26, 2015. Details TBA
In my northeast Washington neighborhood, Deanwood, the last neighborhood grocery store closed over twenty years ago. Since then, 7-Elevens and fast food establishments continue to resurface. As a result, many people are suffering from health disparities created by these poor food systems. This has motivated me to invest in the health and well-being of the people in my community and others affected by poor food systems.
I began my journey in DC working towards social equity in 2008 when I volunteered with ONE DC. ONE DC is an organization dedicated to creating neighborhood equity. ONE DC believes that all people have a right to housing, a right to be employed with livable wage jobs, and that people have a right to be healthy. It was there that I learned the power of being an effective organizer. I learned the power we have as citizens to determine the destiny of our communities. While volunteering there I learned a lot. I also served as a board member and worked on the Right to Income campaign. I was also served on the original shared leadership team when ONE DC was working to create a new leadership model.
ONE DC inspired me to do the work I do now. The Right to Wellness Campaign inspired me the most. I have always had a desire to contribute to the health and well being of the people in my community. Currently I intern with Zenful Bites, a company dedicated to creating healthy, just and sustainable food systems in Washington, D.C. I assist the chef/co-owner of the company with providing food education to elementary school students at Savoy Elementary School in southeast Washington.
I am on a mission to gather the tools and resources necessary to assist my community and many others affected by these food systems in creating a culture of self-reliance by teaching them how to grow their own food and prepare and cook health-supportive meals. Our communities need healing. Over the last four years I have lost a cousin and five co-workers from diet-related illnesses, the most recent one being April of this year.
This summer I will be attending the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary School. This school is unique because it focuses on plant-based health supportive diets. The curriculum will give me the tools to become more efficient at teaching others how to prepare and incorporate healing foods into their diet. The academy has awarded me a $6,000 food advocacy scholarship to defray my $23,000 tuition. More support is needed.
Contact Ahri at email@example.com.
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee has been excited to partner with ONE DC over the last several months. On the housing side, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has joined with ONE DC to identify civil rights violations and ways to protect subsidized housing, particularly as subsidized housing transitions to market-rate housing and landlords may have incentives to encourage tenants with subsidies to move. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee is working with ONE DC to ensure that tenants are aware of and able to enforce their protections under both D.C. and federal law.
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee is also currently working with ONE DC members to help lay the groundwork for a Black Workers’ Center through ONE DC’s series of listening sessions. Our employment staff, with its background in litigation and mediation, is eager to see the Center get off the ground and to partner with workers to address issues of discrimination and unfair pay in the workplace.
SAVE & IMPROVE PUBLIC HOUSING! Rally and Hearing
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Metro Center/Federal Triangle Station
Did you know that:
Join Empower DC to demand DC:
- Renovate vacant units for homeless families!
- Fund & complete needed repairs!
- Stop demolishing public housing!
We will rally outside, then pack the budget hearing for DCHA & support residents who will testify! If you want to testify, sign up by calling Kate
at (202) 724-8198
To RSVP, get more info, request assistance with preparing testimony, request transportation or volunteer to help with outreach and phone banking before the rally, contact Schyla
at (202) 234--9119 x 101
*Buses are being organized to transport people from Barry Farm, Greenleaf and other locations*
To understand more about the public housing crisis in DC, read this article
about Barry Farm.
ONE DC, Raise Your City, and One Love Massive present a vibrant evening of music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the spirit of Funk that brings us all together. The event will serve as the official kick-off to DC's Funk Parade the following day and night, and benefit both the African American Civil War Museum and ONE DC.
- Music: Black Masala | Sir Joe Quarterman | Jahsonic (DJ Set)
- A screening of trailer of "Black Broadway on U TransMedia Project", recounting the African American cultural renaissance in the U Street neighborhood from the 1910s to 1950s. www.blackbroadwayonu.com
- Historians & Storytellers
- Local Craft Breweries
- DC Foodtrucks
ONE DC | Exercising political strength to create and preserve racial and economic equity in Shaw and the District, working toward a city equitable for all.
AFRICAN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM | Preserving and telling the stories of the United States Colored Troops and African American involvement in the American Civil War. AACWMM utilizes a rich collection of primary resources, educational programming and technology to create a meaningful learning experience focused on a pivotal time in American history.
RAISE YOUR CITY | Orchestrating social change by connecting civically minded people to local non-profits, artists, and businesses invested in making a difference in their immediate community.
ONE LOVE MASSIVE | Providing social media management, talent management, and bookings for DC businesses and artists, and spreading love daily.