Reflections 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.