On April 25th, more than 80 people testified, and over 100 community members came to the Wilson Building to show support for Racial Equity in DC. A wide variety of advocates and activists packed a hearing on the proposed REAR Act, which is legislation introduced by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to assess the impact of government practices on racial equity in the city.
Witnesses testified on the impact of structural racism on the educational system, housing, healthcare, policing, and economic opportunities, as well as the disparities that persist in the city along racial and ethnic lines. Councilmember Brandon Todd presided over the Committee on Government Operations and heard seven hours of expert and powerful testimony; the councilmember pledged to continue engaging with constituents as the bill is evaluated by his committee.
Many of the community members present that day were motivated to join in because of a call from the DC Initiative on Racial Equity and Local Government, a diverse group of organizers and direct service providers that has been pushing for the city to do more to improve racial equity for all residents. The DC Initiative proposed several improvements to the legislation, increasing its scope and impact.
ONE DC organized with 9 residents to develop their testimony and show their support for these efforts, joining with Empower DC, Bread for the City, SPACEs, Jews United for Justice, Working Families, and several other organizations to hold educational sessions for community members about racial equity, the DC Initiative, and the REAR Act itself. The group plans to continue building a powerful coalition to demand intentional government action to reduce disparities and improve equity, using this legislation as a springboard to further acts to dismantle systemic racism and improve outcomes for all city residents.