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ONE DC Monthly Voice - July 2016

 

The Monthly Voice

July 2016 - ONE DC Newsletter

 


"I've never been involved in all that activist stuff, but now I'm dedicated to the cause wherever there's injustice." -Mr. Green, VP of tenant association at Congress Heights, speaking at a rally in front of his slumlord's house


March Against Slumlords and WIN for Affordable Housing in Congress Heights

By Clara Lincoln

Saturday, July 23 at 11am with the temperature pushing 100 degrees, over 40 people gathered around the Cleveland Park metro station to demand an end to the slumlord control of a Congress Heights property.

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March Against Slumlords protest


Read more about the situation from Justice First here.

The protest began as people gathered at the Cleveland Park metro station, crowding into the shade of trees. Eugene Puryear of Justice First and Stop Police Terror Project DC took the mic and riled up the crowd, many of whom held signs about gentrification and slumlords. At least 5 people in the crowd were tenants either from Congress Heights or other buildings organizing to exercise their Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights in order to buy their building.

After Eugene's explanation of where we were going and why, we started our uphill, sticky march to Geoff Griffis' house. Griffis is the developer who partnered with Sanford Capital, a slumlord responsible for letting building conditions deteriorate to the point that there are roaches & rats, flooded basements, and trash sitting for months waiting to be picked up. Justice First retrieved the address through online research on Griffis' donations to Mayor Bowser's 2014 mayoral campaign -- a strategic move on Griffis' part. Griffis is also involved in the wharf development, which received $95 million worth of waterfront property from the city for only $1.00.

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Conditions at Congress Heights building

Griffis and Sanford Capital are letting the building deteriorate to try to force the tenants to move out before they can exercise their right to buy the building. But the tenants will not back down. When we arrived at Griffis' house, three tenants from Congress Heights took the mic to talk about their experiences. They expressed how inspired they were that so many people showed up on such a hot day. One said, "We've been fighting for three years. But what we want Griffis to know is you've got rid of some, but you're not getting rid of us," referring to people who have chosen to move away and stop fighting. The President and VP of the tenant association both gave inspiring speeches as people cheered and clapped. We assumed the house was empty since we saw no signs of life, but their words were as much for the crowd as for Griffis' neighbors.

After about 20 minutes of chants and testimonies, the slumlord appeared. As Schyla Pondexter-Moore from Empower DC held the mic, Griffis stepped out of his house with a box of cold water bottles. Schyla, the tenants and the crowd all turned around, rushed to the fence, and booed. Schyla said into the mic that he was no better than a slave master for the way he's treated the tenants. One tenant yelled, "We don't want your water, we want a change of heart!" Griffis opened the gate, set the box on the ground, closed the gate, gave a curt wave, and walked back inside. Check out our twitter feed to see a video of the end of the encounter. Needless to say, no one drank the water. We had brought enough of our own.

We marched and chanted back down the hill towards Connecticut Avenue. We were so fired up that we walked straight into the intersection and blocked Connecticut Avenue for a few minutes, telling passersby who Griffis was and why we were marching. Police redirected traffic even though we had no permit to block the intersection-- a testament, in my opinion, to DC police's strategy of causing as little noise as possible during protests to keep media quiet.

The protest displayed layers of solidarity. Community members and organizers came out to support the Congress Heights tenants. Luchadorxs in other buildings trying to exercise their TOPA rights showed up for a similar fight across the river. Many individuals and organizations brought water and ice to pass out. And Griffis' neighbors even stopped to listen to what we had to say. It revitalized and inspired the tenants and organizers, educated a crowd and some Cleveland Park neighbors, and left people with a follow-up action step.

Griffis and Sanford Capital want access to even more land near the Congress Heights metro station on which to build luxury apartments. As soon as Justice First found out that the WMATA board was planning to vote Thursday (today!) on whether or not to give even more land to Sanford Capital, they did what they do best-- they organized. At the march this past Saturday, they handed out information sheets like the one below urging the crowds to contact Councilmember Jack Evans, urging him to table the vote. They spread the call to action on social media as well.

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Then, Thursday morning, they learned they had won. Many ONE DC members who had emailed Evans got responses informing them of WMATA's decision. Here is the text from an email Evans sent to a ONE DC intern:

"Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts on this important issue.  Upon further review of the Congress Heights sale agreement item, I agree that postponing the vote is the most prudent option at this time.  I am happy to report that the WMATA Board also agree and the item has been tabled until a later meeting."

Justice First, Congress Heights tenants, and all those who contacted Evans made this happen. Thank you to our members who called, emailed, & tweeted. This is a WIN that proves the power of collective organizing and solidarity.

But the fight isn't over. The vote will come before the board again. And the Congress Heights tenants are still living in slum conditions. Stay involved in the fight for equitable housing by following Justice First on Facebook.  #DefendAffordableHousing #SaveCongressHeights

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Black August DC 2016 - A Note from BYP100, Black Lives Matter DC, Movement for Black Lives

DC has a long and well-known history of observing Black August through the exemplary leadership and hard work of the Black August Planning Organization (BAPO).

This August, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100) DC and Black Lives Matter-DC (BLM DC), as part of the DC Movement 4 Black Lives Steering Committee (M4BL), are calling for a month-long observance and celebration of Black August as a month of rest from, reflection on, and recommitment to our decades long struggle. It is a call to intensify community education on ending mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, securing freedom of all political prisoners, resisting police brutality and murder, and re-defining safety beyond policing in Black communities.

The History of Black August

Our comrades in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement share, “Black August originated in the concentration camps (prisons) of California to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden. Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee.”

“Black August is a time to study and practice education and outreach about our history and the current conditions of our people.” Additionally, “As the Black August practice and tradition spread, it grew to observe not only the sacrifices of the brothers in California’s concentration camps, but the sacrifices and struggles of our ancestors against white supremacy.”

Black August Events

Volunteer Meeting & Community Outreach Day
The first Volunteer Meeting for Black August will be held in the Large Meeting Room. It is really important to attend the volunteer meeting in person, but if it is absolutely not feasible but you want to volunteer please email April at keepdc4me@gmail.com as soon as possible. The Community Outreach Day will be this Saturday from 12PM to 4PM. Details will be discussed at the meeting.
TONIGHT, Thursday, July
28- 7PM to 8:30PM
Benning (Dorothy I. Height) Neighborhood Library Large Meeting Room - 3935 Benning Rd NE
Click here to RSVP


DC Night Out for Safety and Liberation
Join BYP100 DC, BLM DC, and the Movement 4 Black Lives DC for a conversation on what true public safety looks like in our city. Vendors, performances, food, story-telling, music, and fun for all ages - Night Out for Safety and Liberation is a space for our community to imagine ideas of safety that are not rooted in policing and incarceration - with specific focus on solutions beyond mythic "community-policing". Instead, join us in uplifting a narrative that speaks to investing the appropriate resources and policies needed within our communities to help support and #BuildBlackFutures. To us, #SafetyIs access to healthcare, employment, safe and dignified housing, childcare, and more. What does safety look like to you?
Tuesday, August 2 - 5:30PM to 9:30PM
The Perch- 3400 Georgia Ave NW

Click here to RSVP


Protest and Shut Down at DC Jail
Cease Fire: Don’t Smoke the Brothers and Sisters are leading a protest at DC Jail. This is a response to the death of “LT” Leslie Irby at DC Jail on July 14, 2016 as a result of the dangerously high temperatures in the jail. Cease Fire and the community have put tremendous pressure on authorities for justice with some success but now they need the whole city behind them to get justice for this death, a full investigation of the jail and its Director, the horrible conditions inside the jail, and the inhumane treatment of those inside. They also demand the immediate termination of the Director.
Wednesday, Aug
ust 3 - 1PM
DC Jail - 1901 D St SE

If you want to hold your own event as part of Black August, please send an email to wellexaminedlife@gmail.com as soon as possible. Please feel free share widely and text “KeepDC” to 91990 for updates, alerts, and actions.
Stay updated on all Black August events here!


Black Workers Center ApprenticeShift

Join the ONE DC Black Workers Center ApprenticeShift Campaign!!

For the last several months we've come together at ONE DC's Black Workers Center to create a transformative organizing campaign aimed at creating jobs and shifting the way workforce development is done in the city. For too long the District government has invested millions in jobs training programs that don't create jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Black unemployment rate in DC is 13.6% - the highest in the country.

History has taught us that the only way to change these dire statistics is to organize. In 2014, ONE DC members organized and successfully got 178 workers hired at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Massachusetts Avenue NW. We did it before and we can do it again. Join us for our next meeting Thursday, August 19 to learn how to get involved with the ApprenticeShift campaign. We demand that the city shift from a failed jobs training model and expand opportunities for paid apprenticeships (on the job training). We'll discuss the campaign plan and timeline, outreach, and specific ways you can get involved.

Thursday, August 18 - 6PM
United Black Fund - 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE
Click here to RSVP


The Mousai House: A Cooperative Vision for a New Creative Economy

Check out this excerpt from a new piece about cooperative music production in Brookland, DC by local organizer and radio host Jennifer Bryant:

"The Tuesday music lessons turned into all night jam sessions, attracting the cream of the crop of local hip hop, soul, and jazz musicians. Maimouna Youssef, Tamika Love Jones, and the CooLots were there. It was an informal network of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing that operated outside of the confines of the traditional economy. 'While we were in those early stages it was a value exchange rather than a monetary exchange,' Jones shared. 'And people found value in having a creative space in which to collaborate with other artists.” This reinforces Dr. Nembhard’s belief that the next economy must move beyond the price system. 'Of particular importance,' she explains, 'is the fact that resources are not solely financial. It’s not just about market relationships.' From the beginning, this has been a core value in the Mousai House culture."

Read the full piece here!


SoulFiesta! Celebrate a Decade of Cooperative Organizing with 1417 N St Cooperative!

The 1417 N St. Cooperative (Norwood) and the City First Family invite you to honor the culmination of a decade of community organizing and progress toward creating a 83-unit limited equity cooperative. We are celebrating the renovation of our building with a community block party!

Date: Sat, July 30, 2016
Time: 4:00-7:00pm (Ribbon cutting ceremony @ 5PM)
Where: 1417 N St. NW Washington, D.C. (between Vermont Ave & 14th St. NW)

Please join us and be a part of the SoulFiesta community celebration. We will share music, art, and tamales!

Click here to RSVP


Free Books for Kids from DC Library

Register your child to receive a FREE book every month. All DC kids from birth to 5 years old can now receive free books in the mail once a month. Kids who are signed up when they are born will receive 60 free books by the time they turn 5. To sign up for this completely free program, you must register at dclibrary.org/booksfrombirth.


 

ONE DC Featured in Consumer Health Foundation Annual Report 2015 Release

 

"We have a shared responsibility to create a region in which everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy and dignified life. Differences in health and life expectancy between whites and people of color — which contribute to thousands of people being ill or dying in our region each year — can be avoided. Our communities can become places of opportunity through equitable public policies that enable people to get the health care they need, earn income, and generate wealth to support themselves, their families and their communities. We look forward to working across sectors in the coming months and years to achieve this vision. this decision in order to balance our intentionally high spend rate during the years following the 2008 recession (2009-2013), an uncertain and financially challenging times for our grantee partners. Now we are in a new time marked by social upheaval, and while we will continue to carefully steward the foundation’s resources, we will also take advantage of every opportunity to deepen our work on racial equity."

Read the full report here

 


Upcoming Events

DC Fund in the Sun!
Saturday, July 30 - Hosted by Brigette Rouson
Two ways to support the grassroots social justice fund for changemakers of color in the nation's capital. All proceeds go to support the Diverse City Fund.
12PM - Purse Swap at Serendipity Jazz Coffeehouse - co-host Lizette Rouson-Benefield - live music and light brunch
7 PM - Dance party at Emergence Community Arts Collective - co-host Sylvia Robinson - DJ and light snacks

Job Fair- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Thursday, August 11 - 10AM to 3PM
Convention Center - 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
Click here to RSVP


ONE Bit of Good News - Black Workers Center Members Work with Muralist Edgar Reyes on Art Project

Tonight, members of the Black Workers Center will be meeting with muralist Edgar Reyes to continue discussing the design for a mural in the space. This mural will reflect the powerful intersections of organizing and art, of culture and activism. The members will guide the design process until the mural embodies the ideas and beauty in the organizing coming out of that space.

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This image is a draft of Edgar's current design for the mural. The people would likely change, as well as the whole design-- depending on what the community thinks tonight in the meeting!


 

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Ribbon Cutting and Fourth Annual Soul Fiesta Celebration

ONE DC members and supporters are invited to come out July 30th for the 1417 N St. Cooperative ribbon cutting celebration and fourth annual SoulFiesta. The ribbon cutting will be to celebrate the culmination of a decade of community organizing and progress with the ribbon cutting of the 83-unit limited equity cooperative! There will be open house tours of the cooperative and following the ceremony will be the SoulFiesta community celebration with art, music and tamales.  This is all organized by the Norwood cooperative and City First family. 

If you are interested in attending RSVP here.

 

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Tenants Report Lockdown Situation in Northeast DC

By: Tiffany Joslin - www.notabigspender.com - Follow Tiffany @in_a_tiff

Imagine your granddaughter, age seven, is playing on the grass in front of your apartment building with a group of kids that live in your complex. You and several neighbors are watching over them. A security guard approaches and demands that you get off the grass and go on the sidewalk that lines the edges of Brentwood Road, a bustling four-lane street. This is the first time you’ve heard of this rule. Kids used to be able to play where they wanted. These new, ever-changing rules seem to be an element of the redevelopment initiative, the same initiative which is also transferring families around.

 

This is what Neeka Sullivan, a nine-year Brookland Manor resident, said she experienced in early May. Brookland Manor is an affordable housing complex in Northeast DC that is set to be demolished and renovated starting in 2017. Residents said they have experienced an uptick in numbers of violations and infractions given for activities like children playing on the grass or residents sitting on their front porches. “The kids don’t have nowhere to play no more. All they have is the steps, the rails, and the trash thing,” Sullivan said, referring to a dumpster that she tries to keep the children away from.

 

The situation has turned into a lockdown, said Will Merrifield, a lawyer who represents the tenants. “They are telling people to go inside if they’re outside. They’re hassling old women and children.” Sullivan corroborates this claim. “We don’t have nothing on paper but it’s happening,” Sullivan said. “If a lot of whites lived in this neighborhood, [security] wouldn’t be doing things like they doing.” And, according to Sullivan and other residents, the situation has worsened in the last month.

 

“I can’t respond to that,” Michael Meers, the Executive Vice President for Mid-City Financial Corporation, said in regards to the reported increase in harassment by security staff. “I’m not aware of any changes.” Meers said that the company’s private activities are in full support of its public commitments.

 

Yet tenants and advocates are concerned about the company’s public commitments as well. The new design cuts over 160 of the current low-cost units. Merrifield called this “criminal” because the District is in midst of an affordable housing crisis. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute reported that in 2015, the city contained half as many inexpensive units than in 2002.

 

Meers said that the new property will remain “real, deep affordable housing,” unlike several other developments around the city, and said that the planned number of affordable units was “three times what was legally required.” According to the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development website, zoning law requires 8 to 10 percent of new or redeveloped properties to contain affordable units. Brookland Manor will be 21 percent affordable. Even still, Merrifield and residents are continuing to push for the same number, and same bedroom size, of redeveloped units.



RIA—the name chosen for the neighborhood redevelopment—will be a mixed-income community. “Our thought was that a mix of incomes will create a better environment and opportunity for everyone,” Meers said.

 

Yet Brook Hill, a fair housing advocate at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, disagrees. According to Hill, gentrification is the root cause of D.C.’s affordable housing crisis.“This is a uniquely African American crisis,” said Hill. Many neighborhoods are becoming out of reach to people of color. In the last 15 years, the black population in the 20001 zip code (a large strip down the middle of the city) has decreased by 33 percent. Brookland Manor’s zip code is currently 86 percent African American, but it would be easy to imagine that number falling as well if steps aren’t taken to stop displacement.

 

Most importantly, “if people are displaced from Brookland Manor, they will not move to communities with lower concentrations of poverty or where African Americans are underrepresented,” Hill added. “They will move to communities in Southeast and Prince George’s County that are more racially segregated and that have greater concentrations of poverty.” Hill foresees the attempt to create a racially and economically integrated community in Brentwood—another name for the community—being hampered to a large extent.

 

Washington City Paper reports that with other, similar mixed-income developments around the city, the owner tears down aged affordable housing structures with a plan to rebuild one-for-one. However, according to City Paper, these projects have, “faced tremendous hurdles, putting its four projects well behind schedule and leaving many residents displaced longer than expected.” Moving people off the properties caused a portion of these delays, which Merrifield said has not happened yet at Brookland Manor. Instead residents are being relocated around the property.

 

The relocation process itself remains opaque to tenants. Several families have been asked to move multiple times in the last year. Minnie Elliott, the President of the Board of the Brookland Manor/Brentwood Village Residents Association, was relocated to a new on-site apartment less than six months ago and is now being asked to move again for reasons that weren’t immediately explained to her. “It’s a hardship,” Elliott said of the first move. “If it hadn’t been for my family, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

 

Elliott said the next move will be even harder. She doesn’t understand where management will place her and the 21 other families that are being asked to move. Elliott said, in response to management’s claims that they have enough space for all the families, “That was a lie.”

 

It is certainly not the goal to move people around multiple times,” Meers said. “It is a complicated and involved process.” In regards to Elliott’s second move, Meers said it came about because of a change in plan from what was originally approved by the Zoning Commission. According to an email exchange with Meers, “the reason for the change relates entirely to being able to build as much replacement housing on site as possible at the earliest possible date.” Mid-City aims to file a Second-Stage Planned Unit Development (PUD) Application for the two buildings this summer.

 

Meers said he understands residents’ fear. “I get why people are anxious. But we are committed to allowing everyone in good standing to stay. Our public commitments stand and we will be accountable.”

 

Tenants, along with community organizers like ONE DC, are fighting back. Through canvassing and one-on-one meetings, community leaders and ONE DC members were able to raise Tenant’s Association attendance to between 25 and 50 residents each month. ONE DC also maintains a database of over 200 tenant contacts. “Tenants will be capitalizing on nearly two years of slow organizing in coming months to put pressure on the city council and zoning commission to withhold approval for the project if all the units aren’t replaced as affordable housing of the same unit sizes,” Hill said.

 

In the meantime, many residents think the developer should do more to ease their worries. And they say that some promises made, like money for moving assistance, have not been kept. “It’s so rough out here,” Sullivan said. “The developer needs to do something to help us relax, because right now they’re throwing people on the street.”



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ONE DC Monthly Voice - June 2016

 

The Monthly Voice

June 2016 - ONE DC Newsletter

 


"This award; this is not for me, this is for the real organizers all over the country - the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It's kind of basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize." -- Jesse Williams

ONE DC's Juneteenth 10th Anniversary Celebration

On Juneteenth Weekend, ONE DC celebrated 10 years of fighting for equity in the District!

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Thanks to the support of our extended community, this event was a glowing success.

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First, we learned and coordinated with vendors in our marketplace.

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Then, we discussed community organizing in DC with Angela Davis and Barbara Ransby.

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We heard moving testimonies by some of our members.

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Finally, we celebrated our DC with music,

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dancing,

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and togetherness.

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We at ONE DC cannot express how grateful we are for the honor of ten years of working with DC residents. Through our triumphs and our trials, we always come out on top because we have the support of a community who believes in our work. From the bottom of our heart, to our members, our volunteers, our supporters, our sponsors....

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THANK YOU!!!


Kick-Off to ONE DC's Capital Campaign!!

ONE DC's 10th Anniversary Juneteenth celebration served as the kick-off for a major capital fundraising campaign to raise over $1 million to fund the opening of ONE DC Black Workers Center, as well as to fund #Another10Years of organizing for our human rights to housing, income, & wellness in DC.

Our organizational shero Ella Jo Baker once said, “We who believe in Freedom cannot rest." For us at ONE DC, the type of freedom we are fighting for won’t be granted by the system today. No, the freedom we need today will not be given. It must be won through political struggle.

For the last 10 years, ONE DC has been in the political struggle for freedom and justice. ONE DC has been fighting for a more just DC—a DC truly governed by the people, not corporations or the wealthy. We want justice! It’s a justice that requires housing for every person, not just those who can afford it. We must have decent and dignified and unionized work for everyone who wants it! We want a city that values people over profit—that allows us, the working-class, to democratically decide what we need in our communities. We need education that does not mentally enslave us to the inequitable systems of our day. We need free and universal education that nurtures political thinkers and leaders. We demand an end to a criminal injustice system that tears apart our families, locks up our sisters and brothers, and frees the police officers who shoot our children with impunity! And lastly, we demand self-determination, which means we must control the land and social institutions meant to rear our children and guide our work.

At ONE DC, we believe that in order to order to fulfill our mission of organizing for racial & economic equity and justice, we need to be funded by our base. That means people just like you. Because if you believe in freedom—if you believe we still have to march towards a better form of justice in the District, then you want to organize with ONE DC. We ask that if you are moved to join ONE DC’s freedom and justice struggle, then please donate today. If you want to give a dollar or a thousand—no amount is too small. We appreciate you and we need you in ONE DC’s freedom movement…because we who believe in freedom cannot rest!

If you would like to donate, click here.


Black Workers Center ApprenticeShift

Join the ONE DC Black Workers Center ApprenticeShift Campaign!!

For the last several months we've come together at ONE DC's Black Workers Center to create a transformative organizing campaign aimed at creating jobs and shifting the way workforce development is done in the city. For too long the District government has invested millions in jobs training programs that don't create jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Black unemployment rate in DC is 13.6% - the highest in the country.

History has taught us that the only way to change these dire statistics is to organize. In 2014, ONE DC members organized and successfully got 178 workers hired at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Massachusetts Avenue NW. We did it before and we can do it again. Join us for our next meeting Thursday, July 21 to learn how to get involved with the ApprenticeShift campaign. We demand that the city shift from a failed jobs training model and expand opportunities for paid apprenticeships (on the job training). We'll discuss the campaign plan and timeline, outreach, and specific ways you can get involved.

Thursday, July 21 - 6PM
United Black Fund - 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE
Click here to RSVP for the next meeting


Tenants Report Lockdown Situation in Northeast DC

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"Imagine your granddaughter, age seven, is playing on the grass in front of your apartment building with a group of kids that live in your complex. You and several neighbors are watching over them. A security guard approaches and demands that you get off the grass and go on the sidewalk that lines the edges of Brentwood Road, a bustling four-lane street. This is the first time you’ve heard of this rule. Kids used to be able to play where they wanted. These new, ever-changing rules seem to be an element of the redevelopment initiative, the same initiative which is also transferring families around.

This is what Neeka Sullivan, a nine-year Brookland Manor resident, said she experienced in early May. Brookland Manor is an affordable housing complex in Northeast DC that is set to be demolished and renovated starting in 2017. Residents said they have experienced an uptick in numbers of violations and infractions given for activities like children playing on the grass or residents sitting on their front porches. 'The kids don’t have nowhere to play no more. All they have is the steps, the rails, and the trash thing,' Sullivan said, referring to a dumpster that she tries to keep the children away from."

ONE DC member Tiffany Joslin reports on the increasing mistreatment of the residents of Brookland Manor, one of the largest affordable housing complexes in the District. Brookland Manor is unique amongst affordable housing complexes because it contains a large number of multiple bedroom units, which make the complex home to many families. Despite this, Brookland Manor is slated for redevelopment - so often a code word for displacement and gentrification - and residents, their tenants association, ONE DC, and the Washington Lawyers Committee are fighting for Brookland Manor's future. Amidst this tension, security harassment and mistreatment have increased, contributing to the sentiment residents are receiving from management. All this difficulty and mistreatment sends a clear message: Brookland Manor residents are no longer welcome, and management will do what it can to make residents want to leave.

Residents are angry, and they are ready to fight. They are organizing with ONE DC and the Washington Lawyers Committee to demand a one to one replacement of units based on size and number. They are meeting with lawyers, they are not moving out - and they are not afraid.

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To read all of Joslin's enlightening report, click here.


ONE DC Member Testimony: Virginia Lee

My fellow ONE DCers,

Those are strong who recognize that HOPE is not a strategy.  Many of you are credentialed to pursue other walks of life but remain committed to the vision of ONE DC. I have always found admirable the level of full participation you give to this mission every day in so many ways. You fearlessly bring your best game to the pursuits of ONE DC's overarching goal of social justice for all of our community.

Over the past 10 years you have given yourself up to learning daily about your gifts and your shortcomings in doing this vitally important work. The work you do encompasses an intrinsic respect for everyone's contribution. Through meaningful dialogue and authentic justice making action you make clear what your audience needs to know. You also maintain a keen awareness for how these actions will impact our community.

It has been my good fortune to share a portion of your journey. You have always inspired me with your ability to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, when it comes to funding, and for having an energy level that could quite easily power an energy company. You have such a wonderful story to tell about managing an ever-changing landscape as a non-profit organization. This celebration is living proof of what happens when you have a vision that continues to attract others to the cause. After 10 hard fought years you are the most deserving of CELEBRATION.

Now stand for your APPLAUSE!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!

My warmest regards,
Virginia C Lee


Looking to Live in a Housing Cooperative?

The housing co-op of 1417 N Street NW is currently offering affordable studio living spaces with a variety of features. By owning a share in this co-op, you can have affordable long-term housing while managing your building.

Centrally located in Logan Circle, amenities include HVAC, remodeled bathrooms, a laundry room, bike storage, and more. Units available include the small studio (225 square feet) and the studio (330 square feet); respectively valued at approximately $950/month and $1,144/month. Costs cover maintenance, insurance, water, and payments to the co-op blanket mortgages. Resident pays electric & gas.

To qualify for the apartment, you must undergo credit and background checks, demonstrate an interest in co-op participation, and have income between the minimum and maximum values. For more information, contact Hernan Sotomarino at 202.630.1417 Se habla español.

Click here for more information


The Pleasant Park Cooperative is Looking for New Members!

The Pleasant Park Cooperative is a 60 unit Affordable Housing Community located near 63rd St NE and Eastern Ave NE . There are currently 2-bedroom newly renovated town-homes available starting July 1st. The homes feature: open kitchens with breakfast bar, in unit laundry machine, rear and front porches, in unit heating and cooling systems. Resident ONLY pays electric. 

This Cooperative is right across from the Capitol Heights Metro. Its location also offers close proximity to the Marvin Gaye park, and easy access to Downtown DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Applications can be picked up at the management office, EJF Real Estate 1428 U Street NW, 2nd Floor. There is a $40 fee for each application. The application requires a background and credit check.

For more information on membership and income qualification, click here.

 


Upcoming Events

Black Workers Center Meeting
Thursday, July 21 - 6PM
United Black Fund - 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE
Click here to RSVP for the next meeting


ONE Bit of Good News - Punk Rock for the people with Positive Force DC

Positive Force, an activist collective of musicians and artists in DC, held a benefit show on June 3rd to raise funds for ONE DC. The event showcased Positive Force members' immense talent and their dedication to justice for all DC residents. ONE DC would like to extend a huge thank you to Positive Force for helping to raise over $200 for the fight for equity in the District!! Check out their work on their website or follow them @positiveforcedc on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

http://www.positiveforcedc.org/


 

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For the victims of the Orlando shooting

We at ONE DC would like to express our deepest sorrow for the victims of the Orlando shooting and their loved ones. Our hearts go out to those impacted by this terrible tragedy. To the LGBTQIA community, the Latinx community, and to all those this act of violence has affected, our deepest sympathy. In a time of fear, hatred, and ignorance, we stand united. In a month in which LGBTQIA pride is celebrated, the LGBTQIA community has been victim to the worst mass shooting in history. We stand with you. You are not alone. As we gaze into the future, let us always remember those lives tragically, cruelly, and needlessly taken. In their memory, we will continue the fight for equity and liberation for free expressions of love and human sexuality.

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Buy Your Tickets to ONE DC's 10th Anniversary Celebration!

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Click here to buy your ticket. This event is ticketed as it is a fundraising event in honor of ONE DC's 10th Anniversary. However, we want our active & long-time ONE DC members at this event and we do not want the $20 ticket to be a barrier to your attendance. You can reserve a ticket for free or at reduced cost by clicking here.

Children attend for free and childcare will be provided. Please let us know how many children will be attending with you by clicking here. You can also call 202-232-2915 or email organizer@onedconline.org.

If you need transportation, please meet at one of the following bus pick-up locations on Saturday, June 18th.

11:45 AM - United Black Fund, 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE (ONE DC Black Workers Center) - closest metro: Anacostia

12:00 PM - Mount Vernon Plaza, 930 M St NW - closest metro: Mount Vernon Square

11:45 AM - Brookland Manor Community Room - Brookland Manor property - closest metro: Rhode Island Ave

 

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Statement about ONE DC Changes, May 2016

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“We, the people of ONE DC, envision the nation's capital as a place where low income, people of color, and immigrant, communities are organized, educated, and trained to take action to create and preserve racial and economic equity."

ONE DC has a big vision for what is possible in Washington, DC. This vision will not be realized overnight or without struggle. As ONE DC strives to realize vision and live our values, we recognize that the road to transformation is not without twist and turns, and bumps and bruises. We acknowledge these things as part of the fodder for social change, and commit to dealing with them head on.

As with any transformative work, we know people will come along and leave handprints on ONE DC, and then transition to other organizational endeavors. We recognize that we cannot make people stay with us past where their story is complete. We know most people view transition as a negative thing, and see it as weakness. So much of the damage of capitalism and racism in the District tells us relationships are disposable. We reject these notions and strive to be a place where change and growth are embraced, and community is valued. We value the contributions of staff both past and present and members both active and not. All these people are instrumental to our growth, and teach us, as we teach them.

Clearly, no organization is perfect. We know that there are no easy or straight paths on the way to liberation, but at ONE DC we try to live out our values. And we understand that ONE DC exists within an imperfect city. DC’s structural and interconnected forces of racism, capitalism, and patriarchy under-value certain populations, challenge the city’s Black working class, prioritize profit over people, and mistreat Black women leaders. To change that, we have to collectively build power through both an alternative vision and the relationships to carry that vision out. As an organization, we choose time and time again to see the possibilities in people, and help to develop them.

As with any organization, we are shifting and changing; and although some of these growing pains may seem scary, WE INVITE THEM. We know that because of the work we are doing now we will be stronger and bolder to handle all of the changes that come with living in and loving this imperfect city.

Two of our full-time staff, Marybeth Onyeukwu and Jennifer Bryant, are voluntarily leaving ONE DC employment. At ONE DC, we have valued every member or staff person who walked through ONE DC’s doors and gifted us with their time, energy, and passion. Ms. Onyeukwu and Ms. Bryant are no exception to this ONE DC ethic. While we will miss having them employed with us, we know our organization is stronger because of their work and efforts. They have been instrumental to ONE DC’s growth. For their many great deeds at ONE DC, we thank them! Please check our next newsletter for highlights of their contributions and accomplishments.

The People’s Platform Coordinating Committee and our Shared Leadership Team are also going through some leadership shifts, as is common. To both bodies, we thank everyone for their hard work. ONE DC is stronger because of their leadership! Even in the midst of these transitions, former staff and members/volunteers should know that ONE DC is committed to their ongoing growth and development, and looks forward to the ways they stay involved.

Click here to view upcoming events & meetings

No matter what, our deep love and commitment to low and moderate income people in the District and our commitment to organizing for racial equity and social change remain. We hope our members and supporters will also see the BEAUTY IN OUR GROWTH and accompany us as we give birth to new and exciting possibilities.

In Solidarity,

ONE DC Shared Leadership Team

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ONE DC Monthly Voice - May 2016

 

The Monthly Voice

May 2016 - ONE DC Newsletter

 


"I'm here because I wish I could wave a magic wand and bring back all of the people that have had to leave DC."
-Ms Ivy Kayira, on why she organizes with ONE DC

 


Buy Your Tickets for ONE DC's Juneteenth 10th Anniversary Celebration

Join ONE DC in celebrating 10 years of organizing for racial and economic equity in the District!

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Saturday, June 18
1:00 - 4:00 PM - Community Marketplace & Dialogue with Dr. Angela Davis & Dr. Barbara Ransby
Jack Morton Auditorium, George Washington University, 801 21st NW
5:00 - 11:00 PM - Celebration w/ Food, Live Music, & Dancing
Bolivarian Hall, 2445 Massachusetts Ave NW

ONE DC's 10th Anniversary Juneteenth celebration will include a community dialogue on community organizing & movement building featuring Dr. Angela Davis and Dr. Barbara Ransby, and an evening of soul, celebration and reclamation through music and dance. The event will also serve as the kick-off for a major capital fundraising campaign to raise over $1 million to fund the opening of ONE DC Black Workers Center, as well as to fund another 10 years of organizing for our human rights to housing, income, & wellness in DC. We hope you not only will join us in celebration, but also make a donation toward our capital campaign. 

Visit ONEDC10thAnniversary.org to find out more about transportation, childcare, and how you can support our 10th Anniversary as a sponsor or vendor.

Click here to buy your $20 tickets and support ANOTHER 10 YEARS of organizing in DC!

You can ask to reserve a free or reduced ticket by clicking here.


First Annual East of the River Food Justice Conference

Cooperation DC is involved with others in the planning of the First Annual East of the River Food Justice Conference to support emerging food coops in wards 7 and 8.

There are also other ways to get involved with Cooperation DC:
CHILDCARE: support the development of an emerging childcare cooperative in NW.
POPULAR EDUCATION: Help plan and continue our popular wisdom circle series and other community learning sessions.
ORG DEVELOPMENT: Do you have website, graphic design or social media skills? This is the working group for you!

Email dcworkercoops@gmail.com or contact 202.957.4987 to find out more!


The Black Workers Center at The United Black Fund

ONE DC has been preparing to transform the basement of the United Black Fund into a fully functional and permanent space for the new Black Workers Center. United Black Fund CEO Barry LeNoir has graciously offered to allow ONE DC to use the space for free. LeNoir first heard about ONE DC while we were organizing for the Marriott Marquis Jobs Training Program, and began following the group’s activities when ONE DC began protesting a lack of enforcement of DC’s First Source hiring law. He says he especially appreciates the relationships that ONE DC fosters in the community, because they form networks of committed individuals working collectively for change.

Now, LeNoir says that he is “honored” to provide ONE DC the space for the District’s first Black Workers Center. He says that the United Black Fund is “prepared to support the movement in whatever way possible.” According to LeNoir, the United Black Fund’s location makes it the ideal space for the DC Black Worker’s Center. To him, Ward 8, ­­the ward with the highest unemployment rate,­­ is experiencing an “unemployment nightmare,” and the Black Workers Center “goes right into the heart of the challenge.” That is why he permitted and encouraged ONE DC to host planning meetings for the Black Workers Center starting in 2015.

The Black Workers Center space will be comprised of two rooms-- one for conference space and one for desk­-based community learning and jobs training. ONE DC intends to install computers and redecorate the interior of the space. ONE DC envisions a constant stream of local residents, many of whom have already committed to be volunteers. The goal is to build power with Black workers and begin reversing what LeNoir called a “flow away of wealth from longtime DC natives and residents.”

This “flow back” will occur through the achievement of the Black Workers Center’s five main goals. Our members envision:

  • A center for finding and creating positive, dignified Black work and training.
  • An incubation space for alternatives to low-­wage work, such as worker cooperatives, collectives, and small businesses created, owned, and operated by Black workers.
  • A place to openly discuss the intersection of race and work, particularly what it means to be "working while Black," as well as a place for Black workers to positively recognize their Blackness.
  • An environment to challenge bad employers who exploit, cheat, & steal from their workers.
  • An educational space to talk about ways to work safer and for more money and benefits.

Join us for the next meeting!
Thursday, June 23rd - 6PM
United Black Fund - 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE
Click here to RSVP

These goals can only be reached with support from ONE DC supporters. Click here to donate.


ONE DC is Hiring Part-Time Apprentices Organizers

ONE DC is seeking creative and dynamic individuals with a genuine interest in learning about and getting on-the-ground experience with community organizing. Successful candidates will:

  • Support organizing strategy for the People's Platform, Right to Housing, or Black Workers Center campaigns while collaborating with DC residents and workers, ONE DC staff, and ONE DC members
  • Recruit and develop relationships with ONE DC members by conducting roughly 5-10 hours of outreach via phone banking, one-on-one visits, and neighborhood door-knocking per week.
  • Assist in the planning and implementation of ONE DC organizational events.
  • Support leadership development of ONE DC members, DC residents and workers.
  • Perform organizing campaign related administrative tasks, such as updating the Nation Builder database, ONE DC website, or social media as needed.
  • Research topics and legislation related to issues the People's Platform or Black Workers Center is working on.
  • Attend staff meetings and planning sessions

Click here for more information and how to apply

 


ONE Bit of Good News - Accolades, Awards, & Appreciation

ONE DC Shared Leadership Team Member Jessica Gordon Nembhard Inducted into 2016 Cooperative Hall of Fame
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A cooperative ambassador, economist and community economic development expert, Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is author of the recently published book, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. The result of 15 years of careful research, the book solidifies Gordon Nembhard as a historian of cooperative empowerment and transformation within low-income and minority communities. Her book argues that co-ops not only should be, but have historically been a social justice tool within African American communities.
Watch the video to learn about Jessica's journey to the Coop Hall of Fame!
Congratulations Jessica!

ONE DC Resource Organizer Dominic Moulden Receives 2016 Maryland-DC Campus Compact Civic Leadership Award
Recognizes an individual who has contributed substantially to the development of civic and community engagement in the Maryland-DC region. Nominees are public servants, non-profit, or other community leaders who have helped to create a culture of community-engagement an improved community life within the Maryland-DC region.

"On behalf of the Yale Chaplains’ OffIce and our group of Chaplaincy Fellows, we want to offer our heartfelt gratitude to ONE DC - the Shared Leadership Team, staff and members. You inspire us and help to remind us that real change is possible through hard work and dedication. Yale’s Chaplaincy Fellows are a group of diverse sophomores who spend a week in DC to both learn about community challenges and visit different religious spaces. Our students this year learned so much from your leadership strategy and community empowerment work. One DC has become a role model for what successful but difficult racial justice work can look like. I’m sure our students will implement the lessons they learned from One DC in their own campus activism and beyond. THANK YOU!!!" -Yale students visited ONE DC for a walking tour


 

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"Collective Courage" Wisdom Circle, Part III

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Join us for Part 3 of the Collective Courage Wisdom Circle at the Potter's House on Thursday, May 5th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. For the first hour, Jennifer Bryant will interview author Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard. The second hour will be reserved for community dialogue, introspection, and visioning. Below is a link to the Potter's House. We look forward to a lively discussion for the last section of Collective Courage!

Click here to RSVP

In Collective Courage, ONE DC Shared Leadership Team member Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of the players are well known in the history of the African American experience: Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph and the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Jo Baker, George Schuyler and the Young Negroes’ Co-operative League, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. Adding the cooperative movement to Black history results in a retelling of the African American experience, with an increased understanding of African American collective economic agency and grassroots economic organizing.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook

 

Jessica Gordon Nembhard is Associate Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, City University of New York.

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1417 N Street NW Cooperative Housing Available

Looking for cooperative housing in Northwest DC?

The housing co-op of 1417 N Street NW is currently offering affordable living spaces with a variety of features. By owning a share in this co-op, you can have affordable long-term housing while managing your building.

Centrally located in Logan Circle, amenities include HVAC, remodeled bathrooms, a laundry room, bike storage, and more. Units available include the small studio (225 square feet) and the studio (330 square feet); respectively valued at approximately $950/month and $1,144/month, costs cover maintenance, insurance, water, and payments to the co-op blanket mortgages.

To qualify for the apartment, you must undergo credit and background checks, demonstrate an interest in co-op participation, and have income between the minimum and maximum values. For more information, contact Hernan Sotomarino at 1.202.630.1417 (fluent in both English and Spanish).

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