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  • Tenants attend Homes for All conference in Atlanta

  • What's Going on at Congress Heights?

  • Emancipation Day Celebration at the BWC

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ONE DC Monthly Voice - March 2017

"Mid-City is destroying families. We can all remember what happened to little Relisha at DC General. We are feeling like throw-away people. You’re throwing us away like we’re trash, like if you don’t see us, that’s the best thing in the world. I really feel that they’re trying to destroy families." -Yvonne Johnson, Brookland Manor resident


"Forewarned is Forearmed" - In the Face of Displacement, We Must Educate Ourselves

jourgette.JPGReflections from an Interview with Ms. Jourgette Reid-Sillah

"We get very comfortable in our lives, and it sometimes takes a tragedy to wake us up," Ms. Jourgette – a survivor of breast cancer and soon-to-be graduate of the University of DC – explains why she is striving to form a tenants association.  She is not waiting for the tragedy of displacement.

"I need to know what's happening. I want to be prepared. I need my community to be prepared," Ms. Jourgette expressed. In Congress Heights, she has heard rumors that the rent in the new developments is well above the current rates in her neighborhood. What will happen to her neighbors who have lived in her building for over 40 years?

Ms. Jourgette recognizes that the displacement happening at Brookland Manor, at Barry Farms, and in too many communities in DC is spreading to Congress Heights. And in response to this displacement, we must educate ourselves. As her mother used to say, "forewarned is forearmed." That's why Ms. Jourgette became a member of ONE DC: she sees the changes coming and is preparing her community to fight for their homes.

ONE DC stands on the principle that there is power in political education. We must understand the city policies, the laws, and the tools available to us, in order to ensure they work for us. For Ms. Jourgette, forming a tenants association in her apartment building in Congress Heights is an important step towards educating her community and preventing the tragedy of displacement.

In Ms. Jourgette's words: "It’s my duty to at least say that whatever happens, l did not let my community not be aware, and not be ready.”

Click here to RSVP for the next People's Platform Meeting Thursday, March 30



Brookland Manor Update

Two urgent housing actions to support the tenant-led struggle at Brookland Manor will take place on April 13th (daytime) and April 24th (evening). Public support for these two actions is critical to continue the momentum and win the fight. A full update on the status of Brookland Manor, with additional details regarding the above-referenced actions will be coming next week. Stay tuned!

If you want to support either of these actions, email Yasmina at ymrabet@onedconline.org


Celebrate Emancipation Day and Support ONE DC's 10th Anniversary Fundraising with a Special Performance of Pike St.    


Friday, April 14th -- Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, 641 D St NW

Schedule

6:45 PM -- Pre-Show Reception with ONE DC Woolly Mammoth Rehearsal Hall. Light refreshments provided
8:00 PM -- Pike St. Performance
From the one-woman dynamo who brought the Obie Award-winning No Child… to Woolly in 2008 comes a rich slice of Puerto Rican immigrant life that “glows with humor” (New York Times). If you’ve ever seen Nilaja Sun’s virtuosic performance style, you’ll want to experience it again…and if you haven’t, you must not miss the chance to be transported to Pike St.

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters—a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.” (85 minutes)

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9:30 PM -- Community Conversation
Led by Woolly and ONE DC, join us for a post-show conversation with fellow audience members about the vital questions raised by Pike St., the personal resonances, and larger societal implications.

Click here to purchase your $50 tickets! Proceeds benefit ONE DC!

A limited number of $25, pay-what-you-can, and free tickets are available. Please call 202-232-2915 or email organizer@onedconline.org for more details.

Please consider sponsoring this event:

  • Carry the Water - $100 - 1 Ticket to Pike St, ONE DC 10th Anniversary T-Shirt or Black Workers Center T-Shirt, Listing in program & on website
  • Fight for Justice - $500 - 4 tickets to Pike St, ONE DC 10th Anniversary T-Shirt and Black Workers Center T-Shirt, Listing in program & on website
  • Organize for Equity - $1,000 - 6 tickets to Pike St, ONE DC 10th Anniversary and Black Workers Center T-Shirt, copy of Collective Courage by Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Listing in program & on website
  • Path to Liberation - $5,000 - 10 tickets to Pike St, ONE DC 10th Anniversary and Black Workers Center T-Shirt, copy of Collective Courage by Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Listing in program & on website, Special Feature in upcoming ONE DC newsletter

Click here to become a sponsor


ONE DC Black Workers Center

At our March meeting, we had members write down ideas for projects they would like to see run through the BWC. By the end of our session we came up with three unique action steps:
1) Open mics: In addition to organizing open mic events, this committee will work to secure funding for a sound system, food, and transportation for events.
2) Political education: This committee will work on assembling literature and talking points connecting the BWC to issues facing individuals at work and in the district.
3) Outreach: This committee will focus on creating a mobile "know your rights training" as well as conducting outreach and dispersing literature.
To join, email bwc@onedconline.org

Brunch with a Purpose
Sunday, April 9 - 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Black Workers Center at the United Black Fund - 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Are you a software developer? Are you interested in mentoring beginners? Are you ready to invest your skills to ensure greater equity in your field? If so, please join us for a fundraiser brunch.
To RSVP, email email bwc@onedconline.org

Monthly Black Workers Center Meeting w/ Cooperation DC - Coops 101

Thursday, April 20th - 6:00 PM
Black Workers Center - 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Cooperation DC invites you to the Black Workers Center to learn about worker cooperatives, the emerging East of the River Childcare Cooperative, and to share your own coop ideas. Cooperation DC’s mission is to expand dignified employment opportunities in low-income communities of color through the development of worker cooperatives, businesses owned and managed democratically by their employees. Food and childcare will be provided at the workshop. For more info, email Cooperation DC coordinator Nia Nyamweya at nnyamweya@onedconline.org.
Click here to RSVP

Black Workers Center Chorus
The BWC Chorus will not rehearse next Tuesday, April 4. Alternative rehearsals will take place at Franklin Square on Sundays at 11AM. For more details and to join the chorus, contact Luci Murphy at 202-234-8840.


We Demand Full Funding for the NEAR Act

The NEAR Act stands for the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act of 2016. The law, which passed the D.C. Council unanimously, was the product of a District-wide conversation around policing and public safety. The NEAR Act sought to establish a framework to ensure residents safety while also addressing police abuses.

The Act aims to reset the conversation on policing to recognize that public safety can’t be produced through mass incarceration or racial profiling. It lays out the frameworks for establishing community-led violence prevention efforts. These programs have extraordinarily good results. Cities as diverse as Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and Richmond, CA, have seen between 40% and 70% reductions in shootings, sometimes in just one year. They work by empowering respected community members to act as conflict mediators, combining that with particularly tailored access to social programs to help people change their circumstances.

Click here to sign the petition

As Stop Police Terror Project DC continues the campaign to fully fund the NEAR Act, there are some important events in the upcoming days, and one important request we have for you. This Saturday April 1st there will be a mass rally demanding, among other things, that Mayor Bowser fully fund the NEAR Act. It will gather at 1pm at Congress Heights Metro and march to the 7th District Police Station.

Saturday April 8th at 12 Noon, the Stop Police Terror Project-DC will be having a General Body Meeting. This will be an opportunity to get updated on the campaign to Fully Fund the NEAR Act and how to get further involved. Also, we will be discussing some other important criminal justice issues in the District of Columbia and our plans concerning them. This event will take place at 617 Florida Ave. NW.


May Day!

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Click here to RSVP for May Day 2017

May Day Planning Meeting
Friday, March 31st - 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
New Community Church - 614 S St NW
The International Workers of the World (IWW) & ONE DC are inviting labor and community groups to participate in an international day of action for worker solidarity. We intend to celebrate our past victories as well as find strength to continue the struggle for ending war, racism, while bringing justice to working families everywhere. We look to showcase local and international struggles for economic and social justice by taking our collective voices to the streets and marching through Washington, DC. 
Committees:

1) Logistics: Preparing space at Malcolm X Park and coordinating the march including speakers for the march, tabling, permits, and organizing multilingual spaces.
2) Media / Press / Outreach: Messaging and sharing of information associated with May Day.
3) Arts: Producing signs, banners, puppets, flags, and other visuals for the march.

Click here to register for a committee

DC On Strike!
On the morning of May 1, MLOV invites all DC movement organizations with an active campaign to hold an action with the words “DC ON STRIKE” visible along with their main demand. We envision May 1st being a day where local demands to protect communities under attack can coalesce and multiply the campaign’s visibility. At noon, we invite you to rally with MLOV and our members in a collective demonstration and celebration of unity in Mount Pleasant, after which we will march to the White House to join the regional strike.
Click here to RSVP and for more info


Upcoming Events & Actions

DC Fair Elections Campaign Launch
Saturday, April 1 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Douglass Hall, Metropolitan AME Church - 1518 M St NW
Many DC residents feel big donors and developers have a greater voice in DC politics than we do, the DC Fair Elections Coalition is working to change that. But we need your help - Join us Saturday, April 1 to hear about how the DC Fair Elections Campaign can put more power back into the hands of everyday District residents and native Washingtonians and be part of passing the bill this year!
Click here to RSVP

Ghosts Of Seattle Past - Author Talk with Jaimee Garbacik
Thursday, April 20 - 7:00 - 8:30 PM

The Potter's House - 1658 Columbia Rd NW
Join us in welcoming author & activist Jaimee Garbacik on Thursday, April 20 at 7pm. Jaimee will present her newest work Ghosts of Seattle Past: An Anthology of Lost Seattle Places, a collection of interviews, essays, comix and art commemorating places in Seattle lost to development, gentrification, and neglect.Jaimee will be joined by artist Josh Powell, and the pair will show how the project grew from a community-sourced atlas of memories into a time capsule of a changing city. They will present Josh’s beautiful, hand-drawn maps, as well as stories of lost Seattle places, and then open the floor to attendees to share memories of places they have lost in their own city, and to pin them on a digital map of Washington D.C. Come join the discussion!
Click here to RSVP

People's Climate March

Saturday, April 29 - Washington DC

On Saturday, April 29th in Washington DC, we will come together for one massive march to bring our demands to the streets. We will march for our families. We will march for our air, our water, and our land. We will march for clean energy jobs and climate justice. We will march for our communities and the people we love. And we will be louder and stronger than ever before.
Click here to RSVP

Service to Justice Conference
Thursday, May 11th through Sunday, May 14th
Service to Justice (S2J) is a collective of Washington, DC social service organizations, impacted community members, and supportive institutions who recognize that the social service industry perpetuates the current arrangement of power that maintains systemic poverty and structural racism.
Click here to register


ONE DC Political Education Calendar

IWW Organizer Training: "Building the Committee"
Saturday, April 22 - 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday, April 23 - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
ONE DC Home Office - 614 S St NW
Please join the IWW for two days of organizing training at the end of April. The 'Organizer Training 101: Building & Maintaining The Committee' is one of the most comprehensive trainings of its kind aimed towards rank and file workers, union members, and worker organizers. The training is a great opportunity to inspire workers and provide the the basic tools needed to organize so we can live and practice the idea of "every worker a leader." Simply put, the training is about giving workers the confidence they need to begin organizing with their fellow workers. The IWW are asking people to register by April 10th, 2017 to insure that they can provide sufficient training materials, breakfast & lunch for everyone. Registration is FREE but a suggested donation of $10 is appreciated. Please plan to attend the entire two days of training! All workers are welcome.
Click here to register


Community Announcements

ONE DC has on-going need for volunteers in the following areas:

  • childcare at meetings & events
  • providing transportation for other members to/from meetings & events
  • interpretation/translation (most urgent: ASL, Spanish, Amharic)

Click here to sign up for any of these volunteer roles

Center for Third World Organizing - The Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program

Established in 1985, MAAP brings activists together for eight weeks to learn the art and science of organizing through in-the-field training and skill development with a labor or community organization. MAAP interns receive a weekly stipend, housing and local transportation during their field placement. MAAP is for people of color at least 18 years old, with an interest in pursuing a career as a community or labor organizer. The deadline for this application is May 20th, 2017. To apply for this year’s MAAP cycle, please click HERE. For questions contact Avery Bizzell, Program Coordinator by email avery@ctwo.org or by phone at (646) 926.1287

Girls Rock! DC - We Rock! Camp
Girls Rock! DC is excited to announce that applications for their 3rd annual We Rock! Camp are now open! The camp is for women, trans, and gender non-conforming adults age 19 and up. At the camp you'll have the opportunity to learn an instrument, form a band or DJ crew, collaborate to write an original musical expression, and perform for a live audience all in one weekend. No musical experience necessary to be a camper at We Rock! Camp. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 7th. If you're interested in attending or volunteering please click HERE.


ONE Bit of Good News

Thank you to The Keep for choosing ONE DC as beneficiary from the DC Blues+Fusion Global House Party & Racial Justice Fundraiser!
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Do you want to be a writer, editor, or designer for the ONE DC Monthly Voice? Email organizer@onedconline.org

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Mid-City Financial Attempts to Hide Numbers on Brookland Manor

Mid-City Financial, the corporation responsible for pushing forth a redevelopment plan that has resulted in mass evictions and displacement of working class Black residents from the Brookland Manor community in Northeast DC, attempted to hide numbers from the DC Zoning Commission to cover up their plan to eliminate over 360 units of affordable family-accessible housing in the midst of a housing crisis in Washington, D.C. If the redevelopment goes through as planned, Mid-City will build over 1,750 units of mostly luxury apartments, reducing overall affordable units from 535 units currently on the property to a mere 373 units, while also restricting 200 out of the 373 units for seniors only, aged 62 and older. In addition to slashing affordability and restricting eligibility of existing residents to live in the affordable units, the redevelopment will eliminate all 4 and 5 bedroom family sized units, and most 3 bedroom units, rendering the property almost completely void of large families.

At the first part of the second stage zoning hearing on February 23, 2017 (second part to take place this Thursday, March 16, 2017), Mid-City Financial executives and attorneys refused to discuss the displacement of existing residents at Brookland Manor. Mid-City has repeatedly claimed that “qualified tenants” and tenants “in good standing” will be eligible to return to the property after the redevelopment. However, they refuse to define the criterion of a “qualified tenant”. Will Merrifield, Brookland Manor's/Brentwood Village Residents Association attorney, analyzes Mid-City’s numbers in his testimony, which you can read here. Watch his cross-examination of Mid-City, which starts at 1 hour 20 minutes and 52 seconds, and you will see how they attempt to hide the numbers by refusing to talk about them: http://view.earthchannel.com/PlayerController.aspx?PGD=dczoning&iID=4324.

Mid-City is attempting to mislead the DC Zoning Commission, Ward 5 residents and the wider public, and most egregiously, Brookland Manor tenants. In their feeble attempt to “prove” to the DC Zoning Commission that tenants “support” their plan to eliminate family housing, Mid-City submitted this letter to the zoning record. Ironically, the letter details the conditions of a tenant living in a one-bedroom with four children – a family that will be at imminent risk of displacement as a part of the new redevelopment. This is just one of many underhanded ways that Mid-City is attempting to sell a project that they cannot defend – a project that will push working class Black families into the streets and out of the city. While Mid-City’s attorneys discussed shrubs and the color of building bricks, they tried to use procedural loopholes to avoid a discussion on displacement. The good news is that Mid-City is so transparent in their cover up that their plan has backfired and shifted momentum to the side of tenants. We are in a position to win this fight and we need the whole community to stand behind us. It may not be quick, but with sustained community support, we can win the fight against developers that displace in Washington, D.C. Development without displacement is what Brookland Manor tenants demand.

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Meanwhile, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, while tweeting about the need for family units, remains silent on Brookland Manor. It was only after repeated requests by his constituents at the property did he agree to a 30 minute meeting with tenants earlier last month. McDuffie has not reached out to tenants since then regarding the redevelopment, and to-date has in no way committed to help save affordable family housing at Brookland Manor. Last week, reports showed McDuffie introducing a bill to encourage the production of family units through the use of the Housing Production Trust Fund in the future. Not only do we have no idea if the bill will pass or be implemented, but it is also perplexing that McDuffie is willing to introduce bills but seemingly unwilling to take concrete action by standing with Brookland Manor families and signing onto their tenant resolutions. To reiterate, the tenant resolutions oppose Mid-City’s redevelopment plan that would eliminate large bedrooms, and hundreds of units of affordable housing for families in the midst of a city-wide housing crisis. If Councilman McDuffie is serious about protecting families, he should demonstrate it by supporting families in his own backyard at Brookland Manor. Again, McDuffie acknowledges that the city needs family units, so why isn’t he supporting Brookland Manor tenants who are fighting to preserve family units? Tell McDuffie to ACT – Stand with Brookland Manor, and support development WITHOUT displacement.

Here are ways you can help Brookland Manor tenants in the fight against violent displacement:

1. Show up to pack the hearing room this Thursday, March 16, 6:30pm, part two of the second stage of the Brookland Manor zoning hearing (441 4th St. NW Suite 200). RSVP here: http://www.onedconline.org/events.

2. Submit written testimony or sign up to give oral testimony at the zoning hearing this Thursday, March 16 in support of Brookland Manor tenant demands. Email Yasmina Mrabet at ymrabet@onedconline.org if you can support Brookland Manor tenants with a testimony.

3. Call or email Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie at 202-724-8028 or kmcduffie@dccouncil.us and ask him to stand with his constituents at Brookland Manor who are fighting to protect their homes and families. He can support them by opposing Mid-City’s redevelopment plan until or unless it preserves 535 units of affordable housing, at the same bedroom size and subsidy levels currently at the property. McDuffie can also help by signing onto the Brookland Manor tenant resolutions, and opposing any and all redevelopment plans that propose the elimination of family sized units and affordable housing.

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Say No to Displacement!

On February 23, ONE DC members stood with Brookland Manor residents in their struggle against displacement at the hands of Mid-City Financial and the District of Columbia. We were joined, in force, by SURJ-DC, IWW DC, Metro DC DSA, the Black Workers Center Chorus, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Housing Advocacy Team, GW Young Progressives Demanding Action, Black Lives Matter DC, API Resistance, DC Jobs with Justice, Fair Budget Coalition, DC for Reasonable Development, Americans for Transit, Georgetown Solidarity Committee, Justice First, DC Right to Housing Initiative, MLOV, the Washington Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, UFCW Local 400, and many more partners and supporters. Simply put, our presence was undeniable. Before we could even begin, security mandated we move a paltry distance from where we had set up to the red brick sidewalk behind us (even though much of our comrades were already occupying it). Separated by the empty space of the courtyard nothing was more clear: The power of the people terrifies the capitalist class.

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  Pictured Brookland Manor residents Dorothy Davis & Serita El Amin

 

Black Workers Center Chorus members Luci Murphy, Ma Krstn, and Eric Sheptock opened the rally by leading the group in song. Brookland Manor residents Yvonne Johnson, Dorothy Davis, Neeka Sullivan, Cheryl Brunson, Valarie Scott, and Serita El-Amin shared stories of their vibrant community. They were joined by spoken word poet Nkechi Feaster and activist-organizers Linda Leaks, Eugene Puryear, and Yasmina Mrabet. "Brookland Manor is a place where families become families," Cheryl Brunson explained, "It's our home." Ms. Dorothy Davis reminisced about raising her children in Brookland Manor and how she now has the joy of helping raise her grandchildren there as well. Transforming a space in which one merely dwells into a community that one lives takes decades of support and compassion; a labor of love that goes beyond the pull of self-interest. Ms. Cheryl Brunson humbly recounted how, during a tumultuous time in her life, it was her neighbors in Brookland Manor who served as a vital support system for her and her family.

In addition, residents provided a deft critique of the repressive measures taken by Mid-City Financial in the struggle for Brookland Manor. For those unaware, Mid-City Financial has fenced off the courtyard, blocking an essential element in maintaining their communal life. "We can't even stand outside and watch our kids," Neeka Sullivan explained. Similarly, Mid-City Financial has hired new security guards whose only purpose is to harass residents and produce an endless proliferation of infractions. These tactics, as well as the overall struggle, are dramatically affecting the quality of life of the residents of Brookland Manor. Painfully, Yvonne Johnson observed that in her 20 years there she hasn’t come across this level of depression. Children are weighed down by the possibility that one day they may no longer have a home to come back to.

Despite these realities the residents of Brookland Manor are undeterred. "We haven't seen a gathering like this in a long time," Linda Leaks shouted, passionate yet focused, "We are not going to move and we are going to win." Indeed, the line for those who showed up to support the Brookland Manor residents nearly wrapped around the building and we easily filled the overflow room.

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The line to enter the hearing stretched down the block

Once inside, Mid-City Financial undertook what appeared to be a rather bizarre testimony. Over an hour long, they fixated on minute details concerning the types of shrubbery they wanted to plant and the hue and crispness of their brick selection. Mid-City Financial is just as comfortable prioritizing aesthetics over the concerns of their residents as they are putting their profits before the community. Here, we are reminded of Walter Benjamin's warning about the dangers inherent in introducing "aesthetics into political life" and the displacement it brings (See the epilogue in Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction). Yet, despite the absurd performance, the tactic was deliberate. The zoning commission proceeding only allows the cross examiner to question the Defendant based on the testimony given. Presumably, if the testimony is filled with vapid details and dead-ends the cross examiner will be barred from initiating a meaningful line of questioning.

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About Making the Just City

We're pleased to update members on our research grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Culture of Health" initiative, one of 15 projects selected throughout the country. Created in collaboration with Mindy Fullilove, MD and Derek Hyra, PhD (The New School and American University, respectively), our work focuses on gentrification & displacement in two communities, and the community-level initiatives being implemented to improve wellness among long-time residents facing displacement. Dominic Moulden, Resource Organizer at ONE DC, is the third member of this team.

 

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Black Workers Center Launches in Southeast DC

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Click here to view more photos from the evening. Photo Credit: O. Michael Leslie

Community residents from Anacostia and across the District gathered last Friday, February 24th for an evening of music, arts, food, and programming to celebrate the launch of the ONE DC Black Workers Center (BWC), housed at the United Black Fund at 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE. The BWC is a worker-led space that builds racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action and worker-owned alternatives.

The program included a musical performance by members of the Black Workers Center Chorus, an interactive reading by storyteller, oral historian, and author Candace Wolf, and spoken word by Joseph Green of Split this Rock. Visual art was created and donated for the evening by Chris Bantum and Jeremy Darby. Rakhel's Live Cuisine provided gourmet vegan food and fresh juice.

The Black Workers Center has been in development since 2014, with regular monthly community meetings held at the United Black Fund building for the past two years. The idea for the project emerged out of community listening sessions following the Washington Marriott Marquis Hotel Jobs Training Program. Troubled by the continued failure of DC's workforce development system to address unemployment, DC workers and residents began to envision an alternative space to address the intersections of race and work in DC. In 2015, emerging Black Workers Center members traveled on a series of Coop Learning Journeys to Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia to learn about incubating worker-owned cooperatives as an alternative to low-wage work. Along with ONE DC’s Cooperation DC project, the Black Workers Center will serve as both a political education and incubation space for worker cooperatives. The space will also serve as a creative hub, where BWC members can time bank volunteer hours in exchange for use of equipment and materials. BWC members are also developing an apprenticeship coding program.

Click here to sign up with the Black Workers Center

The Black Workers Center Chorus that performed at the launch practices every Tuesday evening at the BWC. To join the chorus and for more info, contact Luci Murphy at 202-234-8840.

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"Smart" Growthers Attack McMillan Park Court Victory

Ignore Key Stats Showing Massive Displacement

By Chris Otten, co-facilitator, DC for Reasonable Development

Recently, Greater Greater Washington and the DC Smart Growth Coalition have asked the public to sign on with corporate developers and non-profit property managers to together push for “more housing” to be built in DC with less regulations holding them back.

The smart growthers consistently point to a mythical demand to support their call for more housing – that 1,000 people are moving into the city every month. They believe the city should help corporate developers meet this demand by giving them the right to build bigger and bigger condos and apartment complexes. On its face, this not-so-smart "build-baby-build" philosophy is failed civic policy in that it omits a key piece of the equation: EXISTING DC RESIDENTS, FAMILIES, AND BUSINESSES!

First, let's analyze the "smart" growth premise for more housing at any cost. They claim 1,000 people are moving into the city every month, but never point to any evidence showing this. More importantly, where is the associated statistic on how many people are being pushed out on a monthly basis? We certainly know for a fact that the rate of homelessness has jumped significantly over the past several years. This is a sure sign of displacement at a time when housing is popping up all over the city.

Also, when waving around the '1,000 people' mantra, the so-called smart growth philosophy dispenses with any analysis of who these people are and why they are moving into the city. Using the 2010 US Census, we have a sense that those moving into DC are largely single white professionals making relatively significant salaries ($50,000+), and are working at corporate / government entities. These entities, in turn, won't take the time or aren't offered the incentives to train and hire from the existing DC population.

Further, the "smart" growth demand that building more housing in the District will reduce the prices of housing for all is such a fundamental fallacy as to be a complete joke. Developers have built tens of thousands of new housing units over the last fifteen years -- the same amount of time that shows 40,000+ black folks have been displaced from the city.

Smart growthers and some city planners have recently settled that a $1,200/month studio/one bedroom can be considered “affordable.” This is in part because the displacement machine determines DC's affordability based on an Area Median Income (AMI) that includes two of the wealthiest places in the nation, Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County in Virginia. This means the 2016 AMI is $108,000!  This rising polarity in those who have and those who don't is a result of corporate profit desires in conjunction with lack of government regulation directing us towards the predictable Smart Growth vision for our city – a haven for the uber wealthy only.

In 2017, DC's real estate market is tops in the nation with property deals reaching record highs and rents averaging a scorching $1,500 a month for a studio/one bedroom. However, even when the true advocates score a victory, the "smart" growthers attack us. For example, David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington condemned the people's recent McMillan Court decision supporting those who are fighting displacement.

McMillan Park is 25 acres of open public space with a national landmarked waterworks marvel underground. Located between 1st and Michigan NW, and Channing and North Capital NW, the Mayor (Fenty, Gray, and Bowser) have for years tried to shove in 600+ luxury housing units there. At the rubber stamp zoning hearings, key smart growthers were there to champion how great the project is. In approving the McMillan giveaway, the Mayor, Council, and Zoning Commission again failed to account for the EXISTING RESIDENTS and NEIGHBORHOODS around the park.

Click here for more on the McMillan Park legal battle

The McMillan Court affirmed very clearly that when these large luxury projects with abundant housing are proposed to be constructed in already established DC communities, DC officials MUST consider the subsequent land value destabilization brought on with the resultant displacement pressures.

Click here for "McMillan Court Explained"

The McMillan Court victory is a huge step forward in the legal and planning realms of the District for the longtime, existing DC families and peoples and communities that we, the true activists and organizers, want to preserve and protect. It is Greater Greater Washington and the DC Smart Growth Coalition who have shown their true colors, denouncing our victories with a mission for displacement driven by their supporters, the corporate development class, and compromised non-profits.

Ultimately, the people will have to organize on the ground with the help of groups like ONE DC to prevail over defunct and ignorant housing policies and failed planning actions that disregard existing longtime DC residents, families, and businesses.

Please warn your networks not to fall for 'dumb' policies that will ultimately lend to the displacement of our friends, family, and communities. Testify at upcoming hearings, write letters, protest, sit-in, and demand the planners meaningfully take into account the future of existing District peeps and working families.

In solidarity,

Chris Otten, co-facilitator

DC for Reasonable Development

202.810.2768

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Video Highlights from Say No! to Displacement Rally

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ONE DC Monthly Voice - February 2017

America is Black. It has always been. It is a man twirling at 3AM under colorful lights, sweaty and in love with his boyfriend. It thrives with disabilities. It is migrant. It is a tongue that unapologetically only speaks Spanish. It is a self-regulated womb. It is Native. It has been here before any White foot touched its soil. It is traumatized. It is hungry. It is a woman. It has always been.

It translates for its parents. It transcends borders. It transcends binaries. It is dodging violence on the streets. From men. From the police. It wears a hoodie. It wears a hijab. It has kinky hair that smells of coconut oil. It is trans. It’s a kiki with friends and nights slept on a park bench.
It’s a fist in the air and a fiery demand for justice. It has always been. It prays in a New York City mosque. It prays in a South Carolina church. It is my Black mama and my Persian, immigrant daddy. These are not exceptions. These are not Others. These are not descriptions in contrast to what is normal.
This is it.
It is here. It has been here.

AND IT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE.


Say No! to Displacement

On February 23, ONE DC members stood with Brookland Manor residents in their struggle against displacement at the hands of Mid-City Financial and the District of Columbia. We were joined, in force, by SURJ-DC, IWW DC, Metro DC DSA, the Black Workers Center Chorus, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Housing Advocacy Team, GW Young Progressives Demanding Action, Black Lives Matter DC, API Resistance, DC Jobs with Justice, Fair Budget Coalition, DC for Reasonable Development, Americans for Transit, Georgetown Solidarity Committee, Justice First, DC Right to Housing Initiative, MLOV, the Washington Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, and many more partners and supporters. Simply put, our presence was undeniable. Before we could even begin, security mandated we move a paltry distance from where we had set up to the red brick sidewalk behind us (even though much of our comrades were already occupying it). Separated by the empty space of the courtyard nothing was more clear: The power of the people terrifies the capitalist class.

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Click here to view more photos. Photo Credit: O. Michael Leslie

Black Workers members Luci Murphy, Ma Krstn, and Eric Sheptock opened the rally by leading the group in song. Brookland Manor residents Yvonne Johnson, Dorothy Davis, Neeka Sullivan, Cheryl Brunson, Valarie Scott, and Serita El-Amin shared stories of their vibrant community. They were joined by spoken word poet Nkechi Feaster and activist-organizers Linda Leaks, Eugene Puryear, and Yasmina Mrabet. "Brookland Manor is a place where families become families," Yvonne Johnson explained, "It's our home." Ms. Dorothy Davis reminisced about raising her children in Brookland Manor and how she now has the joy of helping raise her grandchildren there as well. Transforming a space in which one merely dwells into a community that one lives takes decades of support and compassion; a labor of love that goes beyond the pull of self-interest. Ms. Cheryl Brunson humbly recounted how, during a tumultuous time in her life, it was her neighbors in Brookland Manor who served as a vital support system for her and her family.

In addition, residents provided a deft critique of the repressive measures taken by Mid-City Financial in the struggle for Brookland Manor. For those unaware, Mid-City Financial has fenced off the courtyard, blocking an essential element in maintaining their communal life. "We can't even stand outside and watch our kids," Neeka Sullivan explained. Similarly, Mid-City Financial has hired new security guards whose only purpose is to harass residents and produce an endless proliferation of infractions. These tactics, as well as the overall struggle, are dramatically affecting the quality of life of the residents of Brookland Manor. Painfully, Yvonne Johnson observed that in her 20 years there she hasn’t come across this level of depression. Children are weighed down by the possibility that one day they may no longer have a home to come back to.

Despite these realities the residents of Brookland Manor are undeterred. "We haven't seen a gathering like this in a long time," Linda Leaks shouted, passionate yet focused, "We are not going to move and we are going to win." Indeed, the line for those who showed up to support the Brookland Manor residents nearly wrapped around the building and we easily filled the overflow room.

Once inside, Mid-City Financial undertook what appeared to be a rather bizarre testimony. Over an hour long, they fixated on minute details concerning the types of shrubbery they wanted to plant and the hue and crispness of their brick selection. Mid-City Financial is just as comfortable prioritizing aesthetics over the concerns of their residents as they are putting their profits before the community. Here, we are reminded of Walter Benjamin's warning about the dangers inherent in introducing "aesthetics into political life" and the displacement it brings (See the epilogue in Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction). Yet, despite the absurd performance, the tactic was deliberate. The zoning commission proceeding only allows the cross examiner to question the Defendant based on the testimony given. Presumably, if the testimony is filled with vapid details and dead-ends the cross examiner will be barred from initiating a meaningful line of questioning.

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"The essence of the police," writes Jacques Ranciere, "lies in a certain way of dividing up the sensible." That is, it is a power that determines what will be seen and heard while simultaneously determining what will be excluded from being seen and heard (See theses 7 & 8 in Ranciere's Ten Theses on Politics). During the cross examination, tenant legal counsel Will Merrifield insisted that Mid-City Financial clarify the difference in available multi-family units between the current Brookland Manor housing complex and Mid-City Financial's proposed redevelopment. The struggle for Brookland Manor is precisely over the question of displacement and, as Will made abundantly clear, Mid-City Financial's redevelopment plan logically can not house the same number of families currently living in Brookland Manor.

However, given the triviality of Mid-City Financial's testimony, Chair Anthony Hood attempted to censure Will's line of questioning as irrelevant. That is, Chair Hood classified Will's speech, which places the question of displacement front and center, as that which does not have the right to be heard. In other words, the Brookland Manor resident’s concern about displacement is not relevant to the overall hearing process; their concern could only be heard in a certain context, i.e. the minutes to the November hearing. By attempting to exclude Will's line of questioning, the Zoning Commission Board was de facto impeding the Brookland Manor resident's ability to fully secure their right to return. Regardless, legal counsel Will Merrifield succeeded in forcing the Zoning Commission Board to yield to his line of questioning.

Towards the end of the night the Brookland Manor resident’s were given an opportunity to testify and they did not mince words. Ms. Dorthy Davis cut to the heart of the dissymmetry between the two parties. “We don’t want to fight,” she implored, “We want to work with them but Mid-City Financial is putting profit over our families.” Indignant, Miss Elliott commented on Mid-City Financial’s frivolous testimony, “You can bring up all the bricks you want but if you aren't bringing up lives you're not bringing up community.”

We packed the hearing with so many people ready to testify in opposition to Mid-City Financial's plans, the Zoning Commission needed to schedule a second hearing date. ONE DC members and residents at Brookland Manor request your support at the next stage zoning commission hearing on Thursday, March 16. Momentum is on our side and now is the time to stand together and say No! to displacement. At the rally before the hearing, Linda Leaks emphasized that we need to “know their terms and use it against them and make them use your terms. You have to learn what your power is and speak the same language as they do in order to tell them to get out.” "A concept is a brick," writes social theorist Brian Massumi, "It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window." The Brookland Manor residents have the right to stay put. Mid-City Financial will fall.
Click here to RSVP
Click here for more info & updates on Brookland Manor


Building Black Worker Power in DC

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Click here to view more photos from the evening. Photo Credit: O. Michael Leslie

Community residents from Anacostia and across the District gathered last Friday, February 24th for an evening of music, arts, food, and programming to celebrate the launch of the ONE DC Black Workers Center (BWC), housed at the United Black Fund at 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE. The BWC is a worker-led space that builds racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action and worker-owned alternatives.

The program included a musical performance by members of the Black Workers Center Chorus, an interactive reading by storyteller, oral historian, and author Candace Wolf, and spoken word by Joseph Green of Split this Rock. Visual art was created and donated for the evening by Chris Bantum and Jeremy Darby. Rakhel's Live Cuisine provided gourmet vegan food and fresh juice.

The Black Workers Center has been in development since 2014, with regular monthly community meetings held at the United Black Fund building for the past two years. The idea for the project emerged out of community listening sessions following the Washington Marriott Marquis Hotel Jobs Training Program. Troubled by the continued failure of DC's workforce development system to address unemployment, DC workers and residents began to envision an alternative space to address the intersections of race and work in DC. In 2015, emerging Black Workers Center members traveled on a series of Coop Learning Journeys to Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia to learn about incubating worker-owned cooperatives as an alternative to low-wage work. Along with ONE DC’s Cooperation DC project, the Black Workers Center will serve as both a political education and incubation space for worker cooperatives. The space will also serve as a creative hub, where BWC members can time bank volunteer hours in exchange for use of equipment and materials. BWC members are also developing an apprenticeship coding program.

Click here to sign up with the Black Workers Center

The Black Workers Center Chorus that performed at the launch practices every Tuesday evening at the BWC. To join the chorus and for more info, contact Luci Murphy at 202-234-8840.


2017 Annual Membership Meeting

Saturday, March 25 - 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thurgood Marshall Center - 1816 12th St. NW     

What is the people's vision for 2017 and beyond? What is ONE DC's financial standing? How did we win in 2016? How can you as a member get involved? Join us to find out! All are welcome, but only members who are up to date on their annual dues will be eligible to vote in elections for new members of ONE DC's Shared Leadership Team. Membership dues and donations are used to build a people's movement funded by the people. Join ONE DC and support us in building power with long time DC residents to organize for an equitable city. Click here to pay your 2017 membership dues and build a stronger ONE DC!

Food will be served - All ages welcome - Please let us know if you need transportation or childcare.
Click here to RSVP


Cooperation DC's Vision for 2017

Our vision is to establish an ecosystem to launch and support worker-owned businesses in DC in the following ways:

  • Launch NW Childcare Cooperative: In 2017, we will launch a childcare women-owned business consisting of 15 Latina immigrant worker-owners. A grant award provided by the Meyer Foundation will enable the formulation of the business plan and launch.
  • Organize an African American Women-led Childcare cooperative East of the River: The efforts and lessons learned while organizing the NW childcare cooperative in 2016 will serve as the foundation to create the support and infrastructure needed to identify and develop the women that will form the worker-owned childcare cooperative business East of the River.
  • DSLBD Cooperative Convenings: Participating in stakeholder meetings will prove instrumental to creating a cooperative ecosystem by sharing current needs, mapping the current coop infrastructure, setting priorities, and addressing long-term and short-term needs.
  • Issuing the first Working World Peer Network loan to a DC local cooperative: we will build local and regional capacity through our participation in the Working World Peer Network.
  • Fundraising: In order to realize these goals we will need to fund raise $300,000 in calendar year 2017. If you'd like to support the (re)emerging cooperative movement in DC, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. No amount is too big or too small!

Click here for more info on Cooperation DC


"Smart" Growthers Attack McMillan Park Court Victory

By: Chris Otten, co-facilitator, DC for Reasonable Development

The McMillan court victory is a huge step forward in the legal and planning realms of the District for the longtime, existing DC families and peoples and communities that we want to preserve and protect. The McMillan Court affirmed very clearly that when large luxury development projects with lots of housing are proposed to be constructed in already established DC communities, DC planning officials must consider and act to mitigate the subsequent land value destabilization and resultant increase in displacement pressures.

Click here to continue reading


ONE Right to Wellness - Making the Just City


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We're pleased to update members on our research grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Culture of Health" initiative, one of 15 projects selected throughout the country. Created in collaboration with Mindy Fullilove, MD and Derek Hyra, PhD (The New School and American University, respectively), our work focuses on gentrification & displacement in two communities, and the community-level initiatives being implemented to improve wellness among long-time residents facing displacement. Dominic Moulden, Resource Organizer at ONE DC, is the third member of this team.

In its 10-year plus history of organizing around the right to housing for DC residents, ONE DC has gained invaluable experience with one of the communities of interest – Shaw, in Washington, DC. ONE DC is uniquely prepared to work with those in the sister community of Orange, NJ who are facing the beginning stages of gentrification as the two participate in a bi-directional transfer of knowledge regarding affordable housing, health in communities, and interactions across economic, racial, and socioeconomic differences. As the project progresses, we are looking for ONE DC supporters to get involved:

1)  Two DC residents to be hired as paid research associates. Qualifications:

  • Community stakeholder
  • Well-versed in the history, geography, politics and culture of the community
  • Keen interest in learning about the community's story
  • Willing to observe meetings and take careful notes
  • Willing to carry out interviews
  • Willing to travel for research meetings and participate in regular conference calls
  • Willing to participate in a project training
  • Full job description to come!

2) Long-time & new members and residents living in Shaw to participate in interviews, focus groups, and other campaign activities

For more information on how to get involved with the Making the Just City project, please email Dominic at dmoulden@onedconline.org or call 202.232.2915.


Monthly People's Platform General Body Meeting

Thursday, March 30 - 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
New Community Church - 614 S St NW

The People’s Platform is a movement of low-income and working class DC residents of color and people who share our values and vision. We seek to organize, educate, fight for and win truly affordable housing, sustaining work, and wellness for all in DC. Our monthly People's Platform general body is a space where we work towards our goals by prioritizing political education and leadership development in our work; centering the leadership of working class black women; being funded by our base; always seeking to build a deeper analysis and assessing our work; building alternative institutions; learning from past movement's successes and limitations; championing non-reformist reforms; and always seeking to be a part of a broader movement that is multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-gender, and multi-class. This month's topic will be People's Platform Principle #4, a right to health for humans and the earth.
Click here to RSVP


Upcoming Events & Actions

Healing Ourselves, Healing Our World for People of Color
Friday, March 3 at 5:00 PM to Sunday, March 5 at 3:00 PM
Trinitarians Retreat Center - 8400 Park Heights, Ave, Baltimore, MD
Join Baltimore and Beyond: Mindfulness Community (BBMC) for a mindfulness retreat in the first weekend of March. For the BBMC, "Mindfulness is a path of practice...which helps us to become aware of the moment to moment activities of our minds, our speech and our action. As we become more aware of the activities of our mind, we remember certain principles we want to abide by, virtuous principles of kindness, love, compassion, equanimity." Kaira Jewel Lingo and Marisela Gomez will facilitate the retreat.
Click here to register for the retreat
Click here for info about BBMC

Candace Wolf: Shifting the Universe
Thursday, March 9 - 7:30 PM
Red Emma's Coffeehouse Bookstore - 30 W North Ave, Baltimore
Come join us at Red Emma's for a night of story recitations, call & response, participatory readings, and community dialogue with storyteller, oral historian, and author Candace Wolf.
Click here for more info and to RSVP

May Day!
Planning Meeting - Friday, March 10th - 6:00 PM
ONE DC Office - 614 S ST NW
The International Workers of the World (IWW) & ONE DC are inviting labor and community groups to participate in an international day of action for worker solidarity. We intend to celebrate our past victories as well as find strength to continue the struggle for ending war, racism, while bringing justice to working families everywhere. We look to showcase local and international struggles for economic and social justice by taking our collective voices to the streets and marching through Washington, DC. The May Day 2017 Planning Committee is asking for local and international organizations to bring their struggle and message to this year’s day of international working class solidarity in a variety of ways. To get involved, join us at the planning meeting March 10th or contact dcmayday2016@gmail.com or call/text Jason R. at 443-254-8943.
Click here to RSVP for May Day 2017
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People's Climate March
Saturday, April 29 - Washington DC
On Saturday, April 29th in Washington DC, we will come together for one massive march to bring our demands to the streets. We will march for our families. We will march for our air, our water, and our land. We will march for clean energy jobs and climate justice. We will march for our communities and the people we love. And we will be louder and stronger than ever before.
Click here to RSVP


Wow! Before & After Photos from the Black Workers Center

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Thank you to all our members, staff, volunteers, & supporters who helped get the space cleaned, renovated, & ready for community use!

Our next goal is to raise $20,000 for studio equipment & materials to realize our vision of the BWC as a creative arts space. Click here to contribute or start a monthly sustaining donation to support the ONE DC Black Workers Center


How can participating in cooperative economics chisel away the power of capitalism?

In this podcast, Upstream Conversation spoke with Professor Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (and ONE DC Shared Leadership Team member) about the history of solidarity economics--particularly worker cooperatives--within the African American community:

We travel in time from the era of slavery, through to Jim Crow segregation, share-cropping, and finally within the modern day prison industrial complex, looking at how cooperatives have formed in prisons in Puerto Rico. What can we learn for the United States, where African American's comprise one-third of the prison population? We also spoke about the intersection of capitalism and racism. How do capitalism and racism support each other? And how can the act of participating in cooperative economics can chisel away the power of capitalism?

Click here to listen to the podcast


Do you want to be a writer, editor, or designer for the ONE DC Monthly Voice? Email organizer@onedconline.org

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On February 23, ONE DC members stood with Brookland Manor residents in their struggle against displacement at the hands of Mid-City Financial and the District of Columbia. We were joined, in force, by SURJ-DC, IWW DC, Metro DC DSA, the Black Workers Center Chorus, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Housing Advocacy Team, GW Young Progressives Demanding Action, Black Lives Matter DC, API Resistance, DC Jobs with Justice, Fair Budget Coalition, DC for Reasonable Development, Americans for Transit, Georgetown Solidarity Committee, Justice First, DC Right to Housing Initiative, MLOV, the Washington Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, and many more partners and supporters. Simply put, our presence was undeniable. Before we could even begin, security mandated we move a paltry distance from where we had set up to the red brick sidewalk behind us (even though much of our comrades were already occupying it). Separated by the empty space of the courtyard nothing was more clear: The power of the people terrifies the capitalist class.

We packed the hearing with so many people ready to testify in opposition to Mid-City Financial's plans, the Zoning Commission needed to schedule a second hearing date. ONE DC members and residents at Brookland Manor request your support at the next stage zoning commission hearing on Thursday, March 16. Momentum is on our side and now is the time to stand together and say No! to displacement. At the rally before the hearing, Linda Leaks emphasized that we need to “know their terms and use it against them and make them use your terms. You have to learn what your power is and speak the same language as they do in order to tell them to get out.” "A concept is a brick," writes social theorist Brian Massumi, "It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window." The Brookland Manor residents have the right to stay put. Mid-City Financial will fall.

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Letter to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie

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7 Ways to Support the Fight at Brookland Manor

On Thursday, February 23rdBrookland Manor residents and ONE DC members need your support at the 2nd Stage Zoning Commission Hearing. At this hearing, the tenants and their legal team will be arguing for the preservation of affordable housing, including family-sized units, so that no residents will be displaced from their community and face homelessness. Here are 7 simple ways you can support the fight at Brookland Manor!

1. RSVP on Facebook for the Rally & Hearing and invite 10 friends, family, or neighbors to join you. Click here for website RSVP.

Brookland Manor Zoning Hearing poster 

 2. If you are a Ward 5 resident, sign the petition to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie expressing your support for the Brookland Manor residents. Click here to sign. And don't forget to share with your Ward 5 neighbors! 

3. Join for us for sign-making on Tuesday, February 21 anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 PM at the ONE DC office - 614 S St NW (rear Carriage House). We will have snacks & drinks. We will provide materials, but feel free to bring extras, such as paint, canvas, posterboard, or markers!

4. If you are a member of a community group, civic association, educational, labor, or faith-based institution, or any other kind of organization, please send an email to Yasmina Mrabet - ymrabet@onedconline.org to add your organization's endorsement to the Brookland Manor residents' letter to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. Click here to view the letter.

5. Submit your testimony to the Zoning Commission. Click here to view instructionson how to submit testimony in support of Brookland Manor. If you plan to testify, please send an email to Yasmina at ymrabet@onedconline.org so we can keep track of the number of people testifying in support.

6. Sign up for phone banking! Send an email to Claire at ccook@onedconline.orgif you can make 25-30 calls anytime between February 10 and February 21 to ONE DC members & supporters inviting them to the rally & hearing. We will provide a list and a script. You can make calls from home or come in any afternoon or evening to make calls from the ONE DC office.

7. Become a member of ONE DC or sustain the movement by making a monthly donation.

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