"I have a great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift." -Septima Poinsette Clark

Building Our Base

At ONE DC, our vision of community organizing is cooking up! Its hearty base derives from Ella Baker’s approach to organizing. Ella Baker understood that for far too long, those who were directly affected by the issues (poverty, homelessness, racism, displacement) were rarely integrated into their own liberation struggle.

In her praxis as an organizer, Ella Baker practiced participatory democracy. This concept meant that people within movements for social change, those directly affected by the issues, make the decisions related to the campaign or movement; minimize hierarchy within their organization to maximize shared power and equity of voice; and utilize direct action as an effective means to compel decision-makers to implement demands made by the community. ONE DC infuses this concept of organizing and leadership development within our community organizing model as we build our base of long-time DC residents.

Building a base can be chaotic and takes many turns and dips. Organizing and educating the base is exciting, but a slow cooking type of work. Gumbo comes to mind when we realize all the gifts and skills members bring to the organizing dinner table. ONE DC's role is to blend all this talent into a delicious menu of social and political change organizing in DC. Here are some of our ingredients:

1. Leadership Education Action & Power (LEAP)

A people’s vision at ONE DC consists of a membership education program called Leadership Education Action and Power (LEAP). LEAP facilitators use popular education methods to deconstruct the US economy and social issues. Members teach members. With the global understanding of the problems faced by members, members effectively organize their communities and offer comprehensive solutions to decision-makers.

A foundational tenet of ONE DC's vision is that we are organizing for a new system. Because ONE DC is a learning organization, we seek to identify the root causes of injustice and not to simply reform the system. We examine the interconnection of issues like capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, as well as the need for personal and community healing and wellness.

Throwback! Created at a LEAP workshop in 2009

To build power, we must also consistently work to develop our skills as organizers. Over the past several years, our members and staff have participated in the Center for Third World Organizing's (CTWO) Community Action Trainings. Through these trainings, ONE DC members, as well as other local organizers, activists, and tenants studied different types of organizational structures; the power of symbols and framing a narrative to convey a message; campaign frameworks and strategy; and methods of nonviolent action.

GET INVOLVED: The first LEAP session will take place on Saturday, April 27 starting at 11AM. To learn more, contact Claire at or call 202-232-2915.

2. Grassroots Fundraising

In 2014, the Resource Development Committee of ONE DC began focusing on our grassroots fundraising strategy after attending a session of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT). We developed a long-term grassroots fundraising strategy with the goal of having a greater percentage of our funding come from our strong base of long-time supporters, so as to be less dependent on foundational support.

Resource Development Committee retreat in 2017

The base of our funding is a combination of small and major donations from individual community members, and grants won through the efforts of our committed grant-writing team made up of members, interns, and staff.  We believe that how an organization approaches fundraising is political, and we strive to create a fundraising structure in line with our principles of shared leadership. Click here to view our 5-year Grassroots Fundraising Strategy Report.

GET INVOLVED: The next workshop in our 2019 Resource Development training series is scheduled to take place Wednesday, April 17 from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Black Workers and Wellness Center. To learn more, contact Nawal at or call 202-232-2915.

3. Coalition Building

ONE DC is a homegrown, locally focused organization, but we embody a far-reaching perspective. We continually develop relationships with individuals and organizations who share our mission, vision, and values not only in Washington, D.C., but around the U.S. and the world. Our Black Workers & Wellness Center is D.C. is affiliated with the National Black Worker Center Project, which supports and incubates Black worker centers that build power with Black workers to advance their rights and improve the quality of jobs in key employment sectors. For the last five years, ONE DC members and staff have attended the National Black Workers Center Convening to expand our vision in coordination with other BWCs.

GET INVOLVED: Join the ONE DC Learning Circle on Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 PM for a special discussion with SLT member Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of "Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice" Click here to RSVP

From left: Maurice, Nawal, Kelly, Luci (kneeling) and ba at the 2018 National Black Workers Center Convening


Emancipation Day Freedom School - 400 Years of Inequality

Emancipation Day Freedom School
Tuesday April 16 - 3:00 - 9:00 PM
THEARC - 1901 Mississippi Ave NE
Hosted by ONE DC & We Act Radio
Join us to commemorate 400 years of inequality and 400 years of resistance. An interactive political education workshop will be held, followed by a screening of the new documentary film What Happened 2 Chocolate City
3:00- 3:45- The history of Emancipation Day
3:45- 4:00- Meditation
4:15- 6:00- Breakout sessions
6:30-8:30 -Film Screening of "What Happened 2 Chocolate City?" followed by a Q/A with director Mignotae Kebede.
Click here to RSVP

Also: join Free DC in marching for freedom and equal citizenship rights at the 2019 DC Emancipation Day Parade on Saturday, April 13.

What Does Racial Equity Mean for D.C.?

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie's proposed legislation - 'RACIAL EQUITY ACHIEVES RESULTS ACT' - will have its first hearing on Thursday, April 25th. Attend one of two upcoming prep sessions before the hearing to help shape this bill into something that can meaningfully address racial inequity in DC! At the prep sessions, we will learn about the proposed legislation, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and develop testimony and talking points for the April 25th hearing.

Prep Session 1
Monday, April 15 - 6:30 - 8:30 PM
UPO - Petey Greene Center
2907 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. SE

Prep Session 2
Thursday, April 18 - 6:30 - 8:30pm

Benning Library
3935 Benning Rd. NE

ATTEND & TESTIFY at the City Council Hearing!
Thursday, April 25 - 10:00 AM
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Room 120

Click here for more information
If you're interested in testifying on behalf of ONE DC, please contact Patrick Gregoire at!

Upcoming Events

ONE DC Open Mic Night and Happy Hour Fundraiser
Thursday, April 4 - 5:00 - 9:00 PM
Madam's Organ Blues Bar - 2461 18th Street NW
Come out to support ONE DC's work at a fun and lively night at Madam's Organ! $1 from any drink or food item will go toward ONE DC! Listen to live music while helping us create and preserve racial and economic equity in DC. Want to perform? Click here.
Click here to RSVP

East End Hospital Community Meeting
Thursday, April 4 - 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Black Workers & Wellness Center  - 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE
Hosted by DC Jobs with Justice
DC Jobs with Justice is bringing together leaders to talk about the important health access issues arising from the planned hospital on the St. Elizabeths Campus. The deal is currently being hammered out by the Mayor and Universal Health Services behind closed doors and with a $300 million commitment from the DC Council which also waived the public input process called Certificate of Need. In addition, UHS will only commit to limited services in the new East End Hospital and has a history of working in bad faith with union members at it's current DC hospitals.
To RSVP, contact Ina:

Stand with the Irving Street Rent Strikers

Friday, April 5 - 6:00 PM
Columbia Heights Civic Plaza (Between 14th St and Park Rd)
Hosted by LEDC
Tenants at 1454 Irving St NW have lived in slum conditions for years and after increasing pressure from the landlord to evict them, the tenants are fighting back by launching a rent strike. Join the rent strikers on April 5th and show them the community supports their fight for housing justice.
Click here to RSVP

True Reformers: Celebrating Justice Heroes Past & Present

Tuesday April 9 - 4:00 - 8:00 PM
Public Welfare Foundation - 1200 U Street NW
Hosted by Public Welfare Foundation
Join us on Tuesday, April 9th as we gather as a community to talk about how we – together – can catalyze a transformative approach to justice that is community-led, restorative, and racially just. The event will include speakers and performances, and food and beverages will be served.
Click here to RSVP

DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group Meeting
Tuesday, April 23 - 6:00 - 7:30 PM
DC Library Southeast - 403 7th St SE
Hosted by DC Cooperative Stakeholders
We invite you to join our growing effort to further build upon the DC area's cooperative ecosystem.
Click here to RSVP

Assata Shakur Study Group

2nd and 4th Wednesday of the Month, 7-9 PM 
Black Workers & Wellness Center - 2500 MLK Ave SE
Hosted by Pan-African Community Action
Click here for more information

Workers Rights Clinics

Friday, April 5th - 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Friday, April 12th - 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Black Workers & Wellness Center - 2500 MLK Ave SE
Hosted by Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs & ONE DC 
Contact 202-319-1000 or to set up an appointment

Community Announcements

Community Mediation DC (CMDC) is looking for new board members. We need your ideas, passion, and commitment to lead CMDC forward! This includes advancing a thoughtful, proactive fundraising strategy, strengthening engagement with community partners, and further aligning our values and operations. This is an opportunity to be a part of an exciting local organization and help shape its vision and goals.
Click here to apply

ONE Bit of Good News - Cofamilia Enrolled in Childcare Courses

This spring, 16 people from the Cofamilia Childcare Cooperative enrolled in courses at Montgomery College, which will help qualify them for childcare development licenses. The 16 students are a mix of worker-owners and several newer recruits that are starting to learn about the benefits of joining a worker cooperative. Cofamilia is planning a special celebration for July, when the course will be complete and the worker-owners will be one step closer to opening their childcare business.

We are seeking fluent Spanish speakers to support Cofamilia in the ongoing organizing of their coop. For more info, email

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