"Nobody is free until everybody is free."
-Fannie Lou Hamer
Congress Heights Updates
1. Judge Mott authorizes $50,000 payment to the receiver for the Congress Heights properties.
On February 16th, DC Superior Courtroom 518 was packed with Congress Heights supporters. Judge Mott authorized a $50,000 payment to be paid to the receiver to address some of the immediate issues on the property. Additional funds will be asked for once ownership issues regarding the recent, possibly illegal properties transfer, are clarified. Judge Mott also made clear that it was essential that the tenants be able to live in safe, habitable conditions, until they are able to exercise their rights regarding the broader redevelopment. Tenants at Congress Heights continue to fight to exercise their TOPA rights in order to build 200 units of quality, affordable housing over the Congress Heights metro. Stay tuned for updates about the next receivership hearing on March 21.
Pictured: Ruth Barnwell, President of Alabama Ave/13th Street Tenant Coalition,
and Dorothy Davis, tenant leader from Brookland Manor following the
February 16 receivership hearing at DC Superior Court.
“What we are fighting for is our right to live in safe and affordable housing.”
-Ruth Barnwell, President, Alabama Ave/13th Street Tenant Coalition
The Alabama Ave/13th Street Tenant Coalition is the tenant association consisting of the residents of the buildings above the Congress Heights Metro Station in Southeast Washington, DC (1309, 1331 and 1333 Alabama Avenue SE Washington, DC, as well as 3210 13th Street SE Washington DC). The tenants have been living with conditions that threaten their health and safety as a result of the pattern of neglect that took hold as soon as Geoff Griffis (of CityPartners), and Sanford Capital, began working toward the redevelopment of the properties into luxury apartments and retail.
Over the past several years, as they personally endured abhorrent conditions and treatment, the tenants’ steadfastness unmasked a horrific pattern at Sanford buildings and impacted the conversation around affordable housing in the District. DC residents who are recipients of housing subsidies often struggle to find reputable landlords who will rent to them, and many have no choice but to live in Sanford Capital buildings. This means that Sanford Capital profits handsomely from taxpayer-funded subsidies and the affordable housing crisis.
The tenants’ struggle has led to public outcry, lawsuits filed by the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, horror expressed by city officials at speeches, public hearings, and roundtables, and extensive media coverage. The Congress Heights properties have been subject to a receivership since September 2017, and Sanford Capital was ordered to ‘negotiate exclusively’ with the tenants regarding the terms of sale for a period of 60 days, starting on November 9, 2017. On December 27, 2017, Sanford Capital quietly transferred the properties above the Congress Heights Metro station to its own development partner for the proposed Congress Heights project: Geoff Griffis/CityPartners. Griffis is now attempting to move forward the luxury redevelopment that has already caused great harm, and doesn’t reflect the wishes or participation of the residents who currently live on that land.
The Congress Heights Tenants’ Goal: Inclusive and equitable development at Congress Heights
The Coalition seeks to exercise rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, and partner with its chosen non-profit developer, National Housing Trust-Enterprise Preservation Corp., in order to redevelop this land in line with the vision and goals of the people who live there, and build nearly 200 truly affordable units above the Congress Heights Metro station.
The key to any redevelopment at the site is an abandoned building that is currently under the control of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. We are in solidarity with Alabama Ave/13th Street Tenant Coalition as they ask Mayor Bowser and the District of Columbia government to work with the community by transferring 3200 13th Street SE to the Coalition and its representatives in order to achieve a win in the struggle against displacement and for safe, dignified, affordable housing.
3. Save the Date for the next People's Platform Event!
This month: Cooperation DC! Learn about how DC residents are organizing economic alternatives by developing worker-owned cooperative businesses. We will also hear lessons learned from the cooperative movement in Baltimore. Free food, music, & vendors!
Thursday, March 22 - 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - 641 D St NW.
Click here to RSVP
Black Workers & Wellness Center Renovation Updates
We are making progress! This past month, we:
- Hired a property management company, Delwin Realty, to help us with routine management & maintenance of the property
- Worked with our project manager, long-time member & supporter Martha Davis, to apply for licenses & certificate of occupancy
- Made progress in applying for grants to fund the renovations
- Hired an architect, Emotive Architecture, to begin the measuring & planning stages of renovating the building, with direction from ONE DC members.
Stay tuned for:
- A survey to gain input from the ONE DC community about the design of the BWC.
- Info on volunteer clean-up & painting days
- The pace of renovation depends on ongoing fundraising! If you would like to help plan or host a house party, fundraiser, or social to help raise money, please contact Dominic at email@example.com
Save the Date - ONE DC Annual Membership Meeting
We are pleased to invite you to the ONE DC 2018 Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 24th from 2 to 5 PM. The Annual Membership Meeting is a space for members to guide the vision of ONE DC. The agenda will include: Elections for an open seat on the ONE DC Shared Leadership Team, overview of our 2017 wins & outcomes; community learning exercises on Shared Leadership; financial updates; and exciting campaign developments from the People's Platform, Brookland Manor, Congress Heights, the Black Workers Center, and more.
About 2018 Shared Leadership Team Elections
ONE DC is governed by a Shared Leadership Team (SLT) made up of appointed and elected board members, other designated ONE DC member-leaders, and ONE DC staff. At the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting, we will hold an election for one (1) open elected position. You can nominate yourself or another person by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take nominations from the floor on March 24th.
The qualifications for being appointed or elected to the Shared Leadership Team are:
- Be a resident of the District of Columbia,
- Be at least 18 years of age,
- Be a ONE DC member for at least 6 months and current in the payment of membership dues,
- Complete ONE DC leadership and capacity training, and
- Demonstrate commitment to ONE DC’s values, work and mission as demonstrated through an interview process with the Shared Leadership Team.
Click here for more information about the roles and responsibilities of being on the ONE DC Shared Leadership Team. If you are interested in learning more, please contact SLT member Nicole Newman at email@example.com or SLT Member Charles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.427.5844.
The ONE DC Annual Membership Meeting is open to the public and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. However, only members whose names appear on the membership list will be eligible to vote in the election and on other matters put before the members for a vote. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Claire at email@example.com or 202-232-2915.
2018 Call to Membership
Membership dues are used to build a people's movement funded by the people. They are used to fund membership activities & the ongoing campaigns & projects of ONE DC. Our goal for 2018 is for 300 people to pay their membership dues this year and bring our total membership up to 750!
Click here to pay your dues for 2018.
If you would like to join the planning committee or help with phone banking, outreach, or other volunteer roles for the Annual Meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pack the Oversight Hearing: MPD
Thursday, March 1 - 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM
John A. Wilson Building - 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Hosted by Keep DC 4 Me, Stop Police Terror Project DC, & Black Lives Matter DC
We want to bring a strong presence to the Metropolitan Police Department oversight hearing to make it clear that there is forceful and mounting opposition to racist, militarized policing in DC or anywhere. RSVP below if you can make it, and please wear black to the hearing to show your support and solidarity!
Click here to RSVP
Palestine and the Struggle for Liberation Community Forum
Saturday, March 3 - 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Justice Center - 617 Florida Ave NW
Hosted by the Party for Socialism & Liberation (PSL)
For over a century, the Palestinian people have been struggling against colonial rulers for independence and self determination. The racist and zionist American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will be launching its national convention in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, March 4. In response, Palestinian activists have called for a day of protest. This forum, the day before the protest, will explore the history of the Palestinian liberation struggle, from 1948 up until now, as well as up-to-date information on the National Rally to Support Palestine & Protest AIPAC (#SupportPalestineInDC2018). PLUS: meet DC advocates for mental health awareness, BTF Clothiers
Click here to RSVP
Sunday, March 4 - 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Meet at the White House
Hosted by Al-Awda & the ANSWER Coalition
Click here to RSVP
Knocking on Labor's Door- Author Talk with Lane Windham
Tuesday, March 6 - 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
The Potter's House - 1658 Columbia Rd NW
Lane Windham will discuss her new book, Knocking on Labor's Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide. Windham's book reveals an unseen wave of union organizing attempts in this pivotal decade, driven by women, people of color, young workers and Southerners. Exploring union organizing in shipbuilding, textiles, retail, and service, Windham overturns widely held myths about labor’s decline, showing instead how employers united to manipulate weak labor law and quash worker organizing. Knocking on Labor's Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor's future. Windham's story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women’s history.
Click here to RSVP
Comp Plan: Pre-Hearing Workshop
Saturday, March 10 - 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Union Temple Baptist Church - 1225 W St SE
Hosted by DC Grassroots Planning Coalition, Empower DC, & Metro DC DSA
Join the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition to learn more about the Comprehensive Plan and prepare to pack the DC Council Hearing Room on March 20th. The DC Grassroots Planning Coalition is dedicated to not only stopping this attempt to gut the Comprehensive Plan, but building grassroots capacity to fight gentrification and displacement through participating in the Zoning process, strengthening ANCs and Civic Associations, and reforming of the city's planning and zoning agencies.
Click here to RSVP
Project Retail - Fighting to Decriminalize Fare Evasion on Metro and Buses
Have you ever not had enough money to get to work? Have you ever been stopped or harassed by transit police for not paying for a metro or bus trip? Share your story, and help Project Retail support efforts to decriminalize what they call "fare evasion."
The city should not support the criminalization of poverty, and should not allow transit police to harass and give criminal penalties in order to restrict freedom of movement on the basis of race, age, or economic status.
Contact Kristi Matthews at email@example.com to share your story.
New Tax Legislation - Who Really Benefits?
By David Schwartzman
Chair, Political Policy and Action Committee
DC Statehood Green Party
Member of ONE DC, Empower DC, Fair Budget Coalition
Who benefits most from the new federal tax legislation? And how could we use this to increase our revenue stream for low-income residents, meeting unmet needs?
This chart shows the overall tax burdens of DC residents, with all the DC taxes included (sales/excise, property and DC income taxes):
|Source: Who Pays?, ITEP|
Note: these tax burdens change slightly with the 2014 Tax legislation (“triggers”) now fully in place: For example, the lowest 20% pay 4.8% of their family income, the top 1% pay 6.3% and the middle 20% pay 10.1%.
Thus DC millionaires continue to pay a lower percentage of their income in DC taxes than all but the poorest residents. The average income of the top 1% is now over $3 million per year. The highest burden falls on low-income and working class families.
The top 4% of DC's taxpayers with incomes above $347,000 will get the biggest tax cut in 2019, while those making over $135,000 will get 78% of the total. The top 1%, averaging over $3 million/year and will get an average tax cut of $81,240, while the poorest averaging $13,700/year will get a $120 tax cut.
So how much new revenue could be gained for low-income programs in DC’s budget?
In 2019, DC can and should get at very least the equivalent of this tax cut for the wealthy back as revenue by hiking, if necessary, the DC income tax rate for the wealthy. In 2015, according to the IRS, the taxable income of DC millionaires (adjusted gross income) was $5.39 billion. For those making $200,000 and more, the total taxable income was $12.8 billion. Thus, an average 2% hike in their DC income tax payment in 2019 would generate more than $250 million/year.
Sources: ITEP’s up-to-date analysis of the impact of the GOP tax legislation on all the states, plus DC: https://itep.org/finalgop-trumpbill/, Taxable income in 2015: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Historic-Table-2; open DC, MD, VA on the map.
ONE Bit of Good News - The Library is Open!
We have some great news! ONE DC’s library is open so come by and borrow a book! We have books on community organizing, resistance movements, history, Black liberation, and much more. Click here to check out our listing of books.
If you’d like to check out and read one of these books, you can arrange a time to come by the office by calling 202-232-2915 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also actively seeking book donations relevant to our organizing work. For an (incomplete) list of books we'd like to add to our library, please check out our Wish List or send us your recommendations!