October 26, 2015
Press Contact: Marybeth Onyeukwu, ONE DC Organizer - [email protected]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Monday, October 26th, Mount Vernon Plaza Tenant Association, People’s Platform, Justice First and Black Lives Matter DMV held a vigil in support of the Mount Vernon Plaza tenants fighting exorbitant rent increases. The vigil featured tenants, representatives from the Black Lives Matter movement and other community members sharing stories of displacement and making their demands to the Bowser administration. This vigil culminated a week of action demanding the Mayor to shift priorities from policing to reinvestment in Black communities.
After living in their homes for almost twenty years and facing a $600+ per month rent increase, fifteen Mount Vernon Plaza tenants held a sit-in last year at Bowser's office. At the time, Bowser was the Councilmember for Ward 4, running for mayor. As a result, the tenants won a seven-year housing affordability agreement. Since becoming Mayor, however, Bowser has refused to step in on behalf of the tenants. The landlord of the building, Bush Construction Companies, has engaged in numerous intimidation tactics including sending tenants to eviction court and disqualifying tenants from the new affordable housing program. Many tenants have been forced to move.
On the one year anniversary of the demonstration in Bowser’s office, tenants are, once again, demanding the Bowser administration to intervene to ensure more tenants are not displaced from their homes.
“I think it’s ridiculous the Mayor continues to express a commitment to affordable housing while doing nothing to protect the tenants at Mount Vernon Plaza,” said Eugene Puryear, organizer of Stop Police Terror Project DC and Justice First. “How is it that the Bowser administration can find the funding for more policing, but will claim their hands are tied when it comes to Mount Vernon Plaza? Truly affordable housing is simply not a priority for this administration.”
Mount Vernon Plaza is one battle in the fight for truly affordable housing in the District. Mount Vernon Plaza showcases the racial violence that underlies the city’s growing economic inequities.
What: Vigil in Support of Mount Vernon Plaza Tenants
Who: Mount Vernon Plaza Tenant Association, People’s Platform, Justice First, Black Lives Matter DMV
When: Monday, October 26th at 7:30pm
Where: Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments - 10th & M ST NW
Visuals: Signs, banners, candle light
ABOUT ONE DC: ONE DC (formerly Manna CDC) was founded in 1997 in the midst of neighborhood change. From early on, ONE DC's approach to community development addressed structural causes of poverty and injustice, an orientation that stemmed from deep analysis of race, power, and the economic, political, and social forces at work in Shaw and the District. As a result, ONE DC’s organizing work centers on popular education, community organizing, and alternative economic development projects.