The ONE DC Black Workers Center (BWC) is a member-led space that builds racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action and worker-owned alternatives.
Our popular education program covers workers' rights, alternative economies, and the intersections of Blackness and work. To assist with the task of organizing for racial and economic equity, the BWC works with law students and workers' rights groups in the District to train workers on their legal rights and on labor organizing tactics and strategies. The BWC also functions as an incubation space for alternatives to low-wage work. Cooperation DC, a project of ONE DC that emerged from the Black Workers Center, is working to launch two childcare cooperatives. In 2017, the BWC will launch a coding program that teaches computer programming and design skills to BWC members and mentors them through hiring processes in the tech industry. Partnered with a larger National Black Worker Center project, the BWC envisions a transformation from a capitalist system that exploits and under-employs to one that emphasizes dignified and sustainable work.
What is a Black Workers Center?
- 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.
Why Black workers? Why not just a Workers Center or a Workers Center for all people of color?
Black unemployment in the United States has been consistently double that of white employment since 1954, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics first started collecting data by race. 70% of Black workers are employed in 5 industries and are concentrated in the lowest paid jobs in these industries. Chronic black unemployment and underemployment will not disappear unless we 1) talk about how race & work intersect and 2) create spaces where Black workers can create their own opportunities for training, employment, and worker ownership.
That being said, all are welcome regardless of race to help build the movement for creating a Black Workers Center in DC.
Why should I join?
If you identify as a Black or African-American worker, we need you! In order to be successful, we need Black workers to raise their voice, share their stories, and help mold the vision and goals of what a Black Workers Center in DC needs to be.
We need long-time DC residents. We need long-term unemployed and underemployed workers. We need single parents and returning citizens. We need people who may not have ever had a formal job, but have used their skills to make money, for example, providing childcare or transportation for friends or family, cleaning, doing lawn work, etc. We need Black workers of all classes, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, and identities.
When is the next meeting?
Check out our Upcoming Events page for Black Workers Center meeting dates.
Additional Reading & Exploration
Sounds great! How can I get involved?
Fill out the form below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.232.2915 to schedule a visit at our new office space in Anacostia.