On Friday, June 19, ONE DC partnered with Serve Your City, Bigger Than Key, Party for Socialism and Liberation, SURJ DC, IWW DC, It Takes Roots, Right to the City Alliance, and the Movement for Black Lives to commemorate Juneteenth with a Defund MPD / Cancel Rent Rally & Protest March. We gathered outside Landlord-Tenant Court in Judiciary Square to call attention to looming mass evictions. Tens of thousands of D.C. residents have lost work since the pandemic began, and ONE DC estimates over 1/3 of residents haven't been able to make their rent or mortgage payments. While Mayor Bowser pushes forward "ReOpen DC," Black and working class residents still haven't gotten the relief they need. ONE DC's Right to Housing Committee is demanding the city "Cancel Rent" by creating a way for tenants affected by COVID-19 to have their rent forgiven.
ONE DC member-leaders Nzingha and Shakeara co-MC'd the rally. You can watch the rally on our Facebook Live (speakers start at about the 14:00 minute mark) or Instagram Live. Speakers connected the issues of racist police terror and displacement. The mayor's proposed budget adds an additional $18 million to MPD, on top of a budget that is already over half a billion dollars, while affordable housing programs face cuts. We also heard performances by poets Christian Sutton and Kiana Kelly, and BYP 100's Black Joy Experience.
The Defund MPD/Cancel Rent protest was one of four local feeder marches that converged on Freedom Plaza as part of the Movement for Black Lives national day of action. Thank you to all of our members, supporters, and partners who joined!
The Cancel Rent campaign continues! The Right to Housing Committee meets every other Thursday. Click here to join the Cancel Rent campaign and receive updates.
Photo credits: JoJo Morinvil