Pages tagged "membership"
This month we celebrate the leadership of a ONE DC member, Angie Whitehurst. A survivor of a rare form of cerebral malaria, Angie reminds us that we each have unique talents that we can mobilize to serve our community. As a leader in ONE DC's Black Workers Center Chorus, member of the Administrative committee, and a long-time DC resident, Angie is an example of grace-filled resilience and hope.
While working in international development abroad, Angie contracted a rare form of malaria. Her recovery required her to cut down her work hours and slow her lifestyle. She then supplemented her work with volunteering and organizing. In Angie’s words, "just because you can't do what everyone else does, doesn't mean your life stops. Doesn't mean your brain stops."
When Angie was a young woman living with her family in NW DC, her family’s neighborhood was claimed by eminent domain. On the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, she and her neighbors moved out of their homes. They built a new home in Petworth. Years later, when plans were forming to build the Metro in Petworth and demolish the homes in the space, Angie and her family organized to ensure their homes were preserved and they were included in the changes in Petworth.
Angie sees the same thing happening at Brookland Manor: development that is neither inclusive nor just. "I call it loopholes. The government doesn't say you have to move, but when people buy buildings just for speculation, flipping, without your participation... it's ethically and morally wrong."
That’s why Angie is a member and leader with ONE DC. She embodies resilience, and she raises all of our spirits with her songs and her stories.
Become a member of ONE DC and volunteer your energy, spirit, and leadership.
ONE DC membership dues are $20 per year for members living in Washington, DC. Membership dues are used to fund membership activities and the ongoing campaigns and projects of ONE DC. Payment of membership dues in installments is accepted.
- If you live outside of DC, click here to pay ONE DC Regional Membership Dues
- If you are representing an organization, click here to pay ONE DC Organizational Membership Dues
- If you can't afford membership dues, click here to become a member through volunteer hours.
As a ONE DC member, I have the right to:
- Gain and Share Knowledge by participating in free workshops to cultivate political organizing knowledge and skills.
- Exercise my Power for Positive Change! ONE DC members are key supporters of ONE DC by taking our message of equity to others and supporting our campaigns for housing, income, and wellness.
- Exercise Our Collective Strength by joining a movement for racial, economic, and social justice.
As a ONE DC member, I pledge to:
- Take it to the Streets by taking action for One Right to Housing, One Right to Income, and One Right to Wellness.
- Each One Teach One! Participate in leadership development workshops.
- Participate with ONE DC by attending monthly campaign and member meetings; join in our actions that demonstrate our collective power; Freedom Schools; and other community gatherings.
- Make Our Voices Heard! Attend the annual meeting to share ideas, and strategize ways to advance the work.
- Build a Stronger DC! Volunteer each month to do work that supports ONE DC’s campaigns, fundraising, or social networking.
- Pay Annual Membership Dues! Dues are $20 per year for DC residents, $30 per year for those living outside of DC, and varies according to budget for organizational members.
Over the weekend, we sat down with Luci Murphy as a part of our ONE DC Member Spotlight feature. We met at Lamont Park in Mt. Pleasant, which was soon to be the site of the annual Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration with Luci slated to perform later that day. Together we discussed her thoughts on ONE DC, politics, and the unique importance of music.
ONE DC: Before we get started, I see everyone is setting up for an event. What is it? Are you performing today?
Luci: Mmhmm! Its the Day of the Dead. The tradition is that people build an altar and bring photographs of their deceased loved ones, put them on the alter, and remember them. It's a day of remembrance. We'll have music and poetry. We usually do a little parade a few blocks through the neighborhood to remind everybody.
ONE DC: You have a rich history with ONE DC stretching back 10 years. Could you briefly state what attracted you to the organization in the beginning and what motivates you to still be an active member?
Luci: The issues. The issues of housing and jobs. These are issues that we still have not resolved. There's a lot of dislocation. I remember when my aunt lived in a substantial house in the 60s and the price on it was 25,000. The same house is probably three quarters of a million now. How to you do that? People's salaries aren't changing. What is this?
ONE DC: What is it about ONE DC's approach to organizing that you like?
Luci: The emphasis on co-ops. Studying co-ops and preparing people to build co-ops!
ONE DC: Last month you performed at the Renter's Day of Action. What inspired your performance? What did you want people to take away?
Luci: We have a lot of vacant buildings in Washington, DC and then we have our homeless. Why can't we get these two together?
ONE DC: The Black Workers Center Chorus is in its early stages of gestation. Whats the difference between it and the DC Labor Chorus?
Luci: The Black Workers Center Chorus will mostly be from Washington, DC. It's going to be the people who are dealing with these issues first hand. I would really like to see a good representation of wards 6, 7, & 8, which is where the Black Workers Center is located.
ONE DC: When do you think it'll begin meeting?
Luci: It'll be after December 3rd.
ONE DC: And if someone is interested in joining?
Luci: Call me! People are scared to call me! They know I'm going to give them something to do!
ONE DC: As a performer, music and art are an essential dynamic in your activism. Who's work, either artistic or political, inspires you?
Luci: I grew up with some very activist congregations -- St. Stephen's and the Incarnation. And because I was a member of St. Stephen's, I met a woman, an older lady from Mississippi who embodied the tradition. She played three chords on the guitar but she played them in a hell of a way! She got people to sing along with her. She had something called Mother Scott and her children and I was one of her children. The pastor would take us to city council hearings and she would sing to make a point and of course that would make the news. Not everyone comes to a city council hearing with a guitar prepared to sing!
ONE DC: There's something special about music, especially call-and-response, that can bring people together. What do you find unique about it?
Luci: It works!
ONE DC: Music and Art have always played a fundamental role in the struggle for justice, emancipation, and equality. Outside of the feeling of solidarity when performing music, how else do you see music contributing to the struggle for justice?
Luci: We didn't have the SNCC freedom singers here but we had their recordings. We were able to use them.
ONE DC: American University was hosting a panel and an art gallery to honor the work of Emory Douglas. They were discussing the power and importance of his work and the way he could communicate very complicated messages in a very simple way thereby reaching a wide variety of people. Do you feel that music shares this quality?
Luci: Absolutely! I think music is actually more social because more people can participate. The creation of visual art is a very solitary process whereas music is a social process.
ONE DC: You mentioned there's more participation in music not only in a call-and-response but people are also free to riff on music anyway they want to at any time they want to through rhythm, clapping, vocalization, improvisation, etc.
Luci: Fredrick Douglas KirkPatrick said that it used to be that anybody could sing a song or pray a prayer but now its gotten so complicated. We only have specialists doing these things and we're lost in this specialization.
ONE DC: This kinda goes back to politics where the only people to be respected are the specialists.
Luci: Our Chorus is singing a song called 'You can dance, you can sing' taken from a proverb from Zimbabwe, which has been translated as 'If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing' but thats really a message for us in the United States. What the actual song says is if you can dance, dance, if you can sing, sing! You know, like do it! Everyone in Zimbabwe can dance and sing and nobody's embarrassed. That is part of what you do as a member of a community whereas here if you don't move just right you may get criticized and if you're self-conscious you may decide not to participate.
ONE DC: Similarly, there are now specific places to do it. The community aspect is being pushed out. The only way to access it is by joining a club that you have to pay for or renting a space to play in.
Luci: And I see some of the singing and music playing has become commercialized: "If you pay such and such an amount you can play as a part of this jazz group we are starting."
ONE DC: You should be able to just pick up and play. That's just what you do.
Luci: But somebody has just rented some space and has decided that they're going to get some people to pay for their time. That shouldn't be the only way that culture survives.
Luci: We need to study history because in order to know who we are we need to know where we come from. This country is built on great injustice and cruelty for which it's never apologized. It's never apologized to the indigenous people for all the murder and theft and never apologized to the African people for all the centuries of unpaid labor. We need to study who we are, where we come from, and then form that we will know what we have to do, but it starts with an apology.
ONE DC: How do you get an apology without allowing Empire to bury these issues as something that's happened only 'in the past'?
Luci: We have to build consciousness and right now folks are very unconscious. They are having poisonous television, poisonous food, poisonous water, and poisonous air thrown at them all the time. Well, how can they get conscious? We've got to build a movement. A movement that has to educate, energize, and encourage folks.
To contact Luci about the Black Workers Center Chorus you can find her Facebook page here or call her at 202.234.8840.
By Nadia Johnson
Being a young president of a tenant association one faces many challenges, such as the people you are fighting for don’t see a reason worth fighting anymore. I was starting to feel like these challenges and many other challenges yet to come was unique to me and vice president Kimberly because of our age and our inexperience of being a part of a tenant association.
However, that was all before we went to a community organizing and leadership development institute in Chicago. Not only did we discover that there are many people who are going through the same struggle we are going through when it comes to public housing and organizing tenants, but that it is a struggle that crosses racial, sexual orientation, class, religion, and educational borders. We also saw how there are so many young people who are fighting for the same beliefs and principles that we are fighting for and that was refreshing to both see and hear. What was the name of this great leadership conference where we got all this new inspiration from? Well, if you really want to know, it was the Ella Baker Institute.
ONE DC members & other EBI participants visit local Chicago muralist Hector Duarte.
Ella Baker founded an organization called the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC) which was a civil rights organization that combated racial inequality during the 1960s. In developing SNCC, Ella decided that this organization should hit two fronts-- direct action and voter registration. Ella believed in "participatory democracy,” meaning each person should get involved individually and have a voice in the organization. She also argued that "people under the heel," referring to the most oppressed sectors of any community, "had to be the ones to decide what action they were going to take to get (out) from under their oppression.”
In learning this at the retreat, I have decided to take the Heritage at Shaw Station Tenant Association into a different direction. This direction is going to be broken down into two pieces: direct action by the tenant association and the tenants; and to have every tenant on the property, both new and old, to see their place in this fight and to commit fully to participating.
All in all, I am glad that we attended this retreat about leadership. I not only learned about Ella Baker, but I also got to see the sights of Chicago and be revived spiritually, emotionally, and mentally by the culture of Chicago, the common sisterhood and brotherhood of other leaders in the struggle, and the wonderful and inspirational poetry that we heard. It is my hope that along with vice president Kimberly, we can take the necessary steps forward and bring the tenant association into new heights.
By Nkechi Feaster
I became an advocate, not because of my idealistic heart and character; but because I saw how the low income community was highly discriminated against in DC. Stereotyped, held back, dismissed, and diminished further than just being black, or single parents, or low-income. It was tragic. Speaking out against the wrongs against my community was easy for me. I have learned how to channel the voice my mother always said I used too much growing up to speak against these wrongs, so advocacy came easy for me.
Organizing, I found, was a different breed of the same fight, however. I had to learn to quiet my own voice and help others either find theirs, learn how to use theirs, or give them the proper avenue to use it. I had to learn to build my political analysis, learn the lingo of the field, and learn how to fight the good fight. And I am still learning.
I started learning with ONE DC as an organizer. ONE DC, in my opinion, gains much respect from me for not only fighting the good fight, but HOW they fight it! They put the needs of the community above all else, to the point that it’s not until they go out to hear the voices in the community that they even design their campaigns and fights. A community-based organization that is actually about the community!
So when ONE DC asked me if I was interested in going to Chicago to attend the Ella Baker Institute’s Training, I jumped at the opportunity. I was always interested in visiting Chicago, but only during one of the few warm months of the year, so even the timing was perfect and it ended up being the best trip I have taken thus far!
I, along with a staff member of ONE DC and the president and vice president of the Heritage at Shaw Station Tenant Association that is supported by ONE DC, landed on a Thursday afternoon. Since training didn’t start until the next day, we got the opportunity to see a little bit of the city. We were able to attend the Taste of Chicago, sample some of the city’s delicacies and even see Janelle Monae perform! As a lover of music and a fan, I wasn’t able to stop dancing the whole time! It was the perfect opening to the next 5 days.
The very first day of training, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I came in simply ready to learn. I ended up being deeply inspired by Climbing PoeTree; a social justice poetry group that was selected to open the training. As a writer and poet, this touched me in more than one way. Climbing Poetree not only put beautiful words to the fight that we all were fighting, but also served as a muse to everyone in the room to keep on fighting.
The next 5 days were filled with speakers on many social justice issues; from racism to feminism; from colonialism to reparations. We even had the honor of hearing from two women from Palestine speak on the tragedies that have been going on in their homeland. There was so much information to cover that even two weeks after the trip, I am still neck deep in research and reading. I wasn’t expecting to get answers on how to end the fight for justice, but I did not expect to get so much information on those who have already been fighting.
I was also able to see a lot of the culture of the city. We were able to go on a mural tour of the Pilsen neighborhood and even meet one of the artists. We were able to visit a phenomenal open mic, which again, as a writer touched the creative side of me. We were able to go to the top of the former Sears Tower and get a view of the beauty of the city as a whole.
The entire trip was beautiful and spoke to many different sides of me. The nerd in me was filled with information. The creative talent in me was inspired by murals, paintings and poetry. The organizer I am becoming was given inspiration to keep going and do it better. I am so happy to have been given an opportunity such as this!