"If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity, only when we have liberated ourselves can we co-operate with other groups. Any acceptance of humiliation, indignity or insult is acceptance of inferiority."
-Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1976)
"We, as a people, came to have land that were fought for by our ancestors."
-Francia Marquez (2018)
Celebrating the Commons - Emancipation Day 2018
Drummers from MOMIE's TLC introduced the program
Native Washingtonians participate in ritual burning of the settlement sheet
Black Workers & Wellness Center Updates
In recent weeks, the BWC has begun to take shape for its meeting and training functions this summer. On a shoestring budget and with volunteer help, some basic improvements and planning are underway:
- Interior walls have been repaired and waterproofing done to stabilize the building
- One main floor wall was demolished to begin the opening up of the floor plan for larger meeting use
- Interior mold has been eliminated, and all carpeting removed (by fantastic volunteers) to move toward having an allergen-free environment, with our dumpster subsidized by Capital Construction Group
- Exciting first steps taken with our architects at Emotive Architecture: we have measured building plans for the first time and held our first community space planning discussion with our two architects, and expect their initial report soon
"They don't even treat dogs this badly"
"They don't even treat dogs this badly." This is the statement Congress Heights resident and leader Robert Green made when the tenants, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and ONE DC discussed Congress Heights tenants' struggle at the UDC Housing Law conference several years ago.
I traveled all the way to East London only to hear the same story from Beverly Robinson, a Maroon Jamaician immigrant housing leader and organizer who is the ONLY person living in a 172-unit Aylesbury Estates Council Housing apartment located on the scenic 8th floor with spectacular views that the monied class scheduled for demolition. Beverly actually owns her unit but the Council Estates Board voted to sell the entire Aylesbury Estates development, which has displaced thousands of families.
|Beverly showing contaminated water from her unit|
|View from the 8th floor showing the ongoing demolition|
Five decades after Fair Housing Act, segregation continues
By Wade Henderson & Gregory D. Squires - originally published April 12, 2018 in The Baltimore Sun
Many Americans undoubtedly recognize Norman Rockwell’s 1967 painting, “New Kids in the Neighborhood.” It shows three white and two black children checking each other out as movers unload the black family’s possessions into their new suburban home. The kids’ faces reflect curiosity, along with a sense of optimism about the future of race relations. Yet lurking behind the drapes of the house next door is the concerned face of a man who does not appear to appreciate the changes taking place in his suburban neighborhood. But change was indeed coming.
A year later on April 11 — after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated — President Lyndon Johnson signed the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 into law, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion.
Over the past 50 years, hundreds of thousands of complaints and lawsuits have been filed to enforce the Fair Housing Act. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Justice and private plaintiffs have used the Fair Housing Act to nullify restrictive covenants based on race and religion, confront discriminatory refusals by lenders and insurers, challenge racial steering by real estate professionals, put an end to predatory lending practices, address the discriminatory neglect of foreclosed properties in communities of color and more. After being broadened in the 1970s and 1980s — to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, family status and disability — the law has been invoked to protect the housing rights of women who have been subjected to sexual harassment and domestic violence, to challenge “adults only” housing restrictions, and to ensure the production of millions of units of accessible housing for people with disabilities.
Elections for the People
By Ericka Taylor, DC Fair Elections Coalition
After a multi-year campaign, on March 13, 2018, the Fair Elections Act of 2017, designed to empower small donors and democratize the city’s electoral system, officially became law. The legislation establishes a voluntary public-financing system that will match small donations, allowing candidates to focus on meeting with their constituents instead of having to dial for dollars from developers, wealthy donors, and big corporations. Thanks to a 5:1 matching system, someone who can only afford to give $25 is making, with the match, a $150 donation. This means that working families and people of color will not only be better able to participate in the political system as donors, but they’ll face fewer financial barriers to running for office.
With the passage of fair elections, we can begin correcting the current imbalance among DC donors, who are in no way representative of the city’s population. Historically, these donors have been wealthier, whiter, and more male than the city as a whole, which gives candidates a skewed view of local priorities. The fact that only a quarter of the city’s adults make more than $100,000 a year, but 61% of mayoral donors and 59% of council donors do, indicates a problem with our democracy. The fact that 62% of mayoral donors and 67% of council donors are white, but white people only make up 37% of the population, shows that we’re not reaching our democratic ideals. Fair elections, which candidates can begin using in 2020, should upend those statistics.
Although the mayor signed the legislation after the council approved it with a unanimous vote, the path to victory was far from short and easy. An earlier effort failed several years ago, and the Fair Elections Coalition began working on the campaign in 2015, when passage was far from a certainty. Furthermore, the mayor publicly articulated disinterest in signing the legislation multiple times. The diligent work of coalition members to show grassroots support made a significant difference.
In addition to ONE DC, DC for Democracy, Fair Budget Coalition, DC Working Families, Demos, DC Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and US PIRG, dozens of other organizations pitched in, helping gather over 5,000 petitions from residents in every ward. Coalition members also delivered to the mayor a letter of support signed by more than 80 community leaders across the city. With the mayor including the initial funding for the law in the city’s next budget, the city is well on its way to right-sizing our democracy. You can find more about the legislation and how it works here.
Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite! May Day 2018
Make Your Voice Heard! Upcoming Candidate Forums
2018 TENAC (D.C. Tenants' Advocacy Coalition) Candidates Forum
Wednesday, May 2 - 6:45 to 9:00 PM
Sumner School - 1201 17th Street NW
We Fight for Affordable Housing, Tenants' Rights and Rent Control
Sanctuary DC 2018 Candidate Forum
Saturday, May 5 - 1:00 to 4:00 PM
All Souls Church - 1500 Harvard Street NW
Join us for an interactive conversation with candidates running for DC Mayor and City Council to discuss issues affecting our immigrant communities. Volunteer Opportunity! MLOV is looking for volunteers to help out with stage set-up, escorts, bilingual volunteers for sign-in & tabling, candidate greeters, food set-up, & clean-up. For more info, click here and to sign up click here.
Click here to RSVP
Returning Citizens Candidate Forum
Saturday, May 5 - 9:00 to 10:30 AM
Randall Memorial United Methodist Church - 1002 46th St NE
Sponsored by: American Civil Liberties Union of DC, Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries, Baltimore-Washington Conference United Methodist Church Family and Friends of Incarcerated People, Interfaith Action for Human Rights, Justice First, Living Faith Baptist Church, National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens, ReThink Justice DC, Returning Citizens United, and The Wire.
All candidates have been invited and will discuss: Support for returning citizens; incarceration to Incorporation Entrepreneurship Program; The Reentry Portal; Voter registration; The Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs; Current operations of the DC Department of Corrections; Plans for a new jail; NEAR Act; Parole Commission.
I Rent, I Vote: Tenant Town Hall and Candidate Forum
Saturday, May 12 - 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
All Souls Church Unitarian - 1500 Harvard St NW
Co-hosted by Fair Budget Coalition, Latino Economic Development Center, Bread for the City & CNHED
The primary election is coming up on Tuesday, June 19. Be an informed voter find out where the council candidates stand on tenants' rights and affordable housing. Come hear from the candidates yourself! Confirmed Candidates: Council Chair: Ed Lazere for DC Council Chair, Phil Mendelson. At-large: Jeremiah Lowery, Anita Bonds, Marcus Goodwin For DC Council At-Large Democrat. Ward 1: Brianne Nadeau, Kent Boese, Lori Parker, Sheika Reid
Click here to RSVP
Students and Teachers join Climate Advocates to Rally for Strong, Progressive Carbon Rebate Policy
Dozens of students, teachers, and climate and justice advocates joined together for a rally on April 13 to urge the D.C. Council to introduce a strong, progressive carbon fee-and-rebate policy soon. On the steps of the Wilson Building, middle school students and teachers stood alongside members of the “Put A Price On It, D.C.” coalition — which consists of 70 local organizations and businesses — to speak out in favor of the proposed policy.
About 30 students and about 50 additional D.C. residents rallied together, surrounded by giant clocks and signs noting that “the time is now” for strong climate action. Four seventh-graders from the Washington Latin Great Debaters Policy debate team and local community activists gave inspiring speeches calling on D.C. lawmakers to introduce and pass a policy to put a fee on fossil fuel pollution and rebate a large share of the revenue to D.C. residents. Students speaking out in favor of the carbon price today represented middle schools and universities across the District.
Blue Cliff Monastery's Annual PoC Retreat
Wednesday, May 2 - Sunday, May 6
Co-hosted by BCM Monastics and Baltimore & Beyond Mindfulness Community
This retreat is open to anyone who self-identifies as a Person of Color, whether new or more experienced in the practice of mindfulness and meditation. During this retreat, we will focus on cultivating compassion as well as resilience by the mindfulness practices of walking/eating/sitting meditation, connecting with our ancestors, learning the skills of deep listening and loving speech, and allowing ourselves the chance to deeply rest. Vegan meals will be offered as part of the retreat. Two retreat options are available: Five Day-May 2-6 or Weekend-May 4-6.
Click here for more info & to register
Impact Now! Economic Equity: Addressing the Growing Wealth Divide
Thursday May 3 - 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD
Hosted by IMPACT Silver Spring
Across the nation, worker cooperatives are gaining recognition as a promising tool for generating income and building capital in communities of color―and thus an important strategy for addressing racial disparities in income and wealth. Local government support for worker ownership is rapidly expanding in cities across the country. At this year’s IMPACT Now!, we will explore some of the root causes of economic inequality and discuss worker ownership as a promising economic model for addressing the growing wealth gap in Montgomery County. Following keynote remarks from our featured speaker, Marjorie Kelly, we will hear from several local cooperatives.
Click here to RSVP
There is a Field: Solidarity through Art
Thursday, May 3 - 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Georgetown University - 3700 O St NW, Intercultural Center, Room 103
Co-hosted by Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace & Georgetown Black Student Alliance
This co-hosted production aims to inspire Black solidarity with Palestine through theater. “There Is A Field,” written by Jen Marlowe, tells the story of a 17-year old Palestinian boy (and a friend of Jen’s), Aseel Asleh, who was killed by Israeli police. Through Nardeen’s struggle to cope with the murder of her brother, the play offers an intimate view into the daily racism and violence faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, and contributes to the vital conversation around the systematic devaluation of Black and Brown lives in the United States. With the solidarities and political convictions the play inspires, we’ll plug people in to social justice campaigns in DC to put an end to the injustices the play exposes.
Click here to RSVP
Louder Than a Bomb - DMV Finals
Sunday, May 6 - 5:00 to 7:00 PM
The Kennedy Center Family Theater - 2700 F St NW
Hosted by Split This Rock
As one of the premier youth spoken word festivals in the nation, Louder Than a Bomb – DMV (LTAB-DMV) is a team-centered poetry festival that purposefully assembles students together across lines of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, geography, sexuality, socio-economic status, and political ideology to listen to, to learn from, and to bond with one another. Split This Rock hosts this regional version of Young Chicago Authors’ nationally celebrated festival each year. The event is designed to offer youth safe space to tell their stories, build community across lines of difference, and speak out on social issues. Youth participate in open mics, workshops, and a tournament of slam competitions crowning one school’s team as champion.
Click here to RSVP
Chocolate City Author Book Talk with ONE DC
Friday, May 11 - 11:30 to 1:00 PM
Petworth Library - 4200 Kansas Ave NW
Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation's capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America's expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city's rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights.
Click here to RSVP
Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action at the Capitol
Monday, May 14 - 2:00 to 5:00 PM
US Capitol Building - First St & Maryland Ave NE
Hosted by Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
A season of nonviolent moral fusion direct action to transform the nation’s political, economic, and moral structures begins May 14 in the US Capitol. Join us as we show our elected leaders we will no longer allow attention violence to keep poor and disenfranchised people down.
Click here to RSVP
ONE DC Walking Tour
Tuesday, May 15 - 5:45 to 7:45 PM
Meet at ONE DC Office - 614 S St NW
Hosted by ONE DC
Long-time DC residents and organizers with ONE DC will show you the physical side of gentrification in the Shaw neighborhood and discuss its effects on the community, along with stories of how ONE DC organizes with residents to stand up for community-led, equitable development. Participants will have the opportunity to raise and discuss questions together, as well as tie learned experience to the Shaw story and context. Suggested sliding scale donation: $10 to $25.
Click here to RSVP
NDCC 2018 National Conference--Developing Conscious Momentum in Under-Invested Communities
Wednesday, May 30 - Friday, June 1
Temple Oheb Shalom - 7310 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208
Hosted By Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC)
This conference was created in a spirit of connectivity to bring together communities and those who are interested in equitable community development, culture, health, justice, economic development and other topics. Presenters include community development practitioners, business leaders, academics, spiritual thought leaders, and others committed to the success of Black and dis-invested communities.
Click here for more info & to register
ONE Bit of Good News - ONE DC featured in "Right to the City" Exhibit at Anacostia Community Museum
By Angie Whitehurst
A Right to the City is a timely exhibition and comes at a pivotal moment for the nation's capital as our neighborhoods experience rapid and profound transformations. Developed under the direction of chief curator Dr. Samir Meghelli, the exhibition highlights the stories of six Washington neighborhoods and the unsung heroes that have shaped them. Using our renowned community documentation methods including recording nearly two hundred new oral histories and cutting-edge museum design, this exhibition transports visitors into moments that made our city's history. A Right to the City gives us an opportunity to reflect upon the evolution of our beloved D.C. and leaves us with important questions about its future. -from Anacostia Community Museum
On Friday, April 20, the Anacostia Community Museum held the opening night of the Right to the City exhibit. The exhibit is awesome because it shows the grassroots, as we the real people, and not just the symbolically famous. Topper Carew's photographs realistically captures the soulful emotions of everyday life, the painful struggles, the unity of standing together under duress, the joy of simple pleasures of just being together, and the inequity of urban designated zip codes called poverty, homelessness, and ethnically contained "ghettos." This is a silent theme left for the visitor to see, hear, and feel throughout the sensitively, beautifully designed exhibit.
My favorite exhibit is the wall with nostalgic flyers and poster from the years before the now 21st Century. It was a walk through memory lane. Flyers from ONE DC events and campaigns mixed with community event and campaign flyers of the late Marion Barry, Hilda Mason, Josephine Butler, and many others. ONE DC's Dominic Moulden is featured in a video speaking on organizing in the Shaw neighborhood. We will be planning a special ONE DC member visit to the exhibit. Stay tuned for more details!