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Thank YOU for a POWERFUL People's Assembly!

Wow!! A huge thank you to all who came out on Saturday to make our first ONE DC People's Assembly a success!

At the People's Assembly, our goals were to develop a shared understanding of the struggles we face, decide what should we do about them, and build our power to take collective action.

Through participatory processes, these campaign demands emerged:

  1. Right to Housing: prioritize the preservation and creation of family-sized units with longtime affordability at 0-30% AMI that includes protecting rent control and housing alternatives to vouchers
  2. Right to Income: get rid of tax breaks to corporations and developers and funnel those resources to the development of worker cooperatives
  3. Neighborhood & Worker Defense: create community-controlled alternatives that address access to food, housing, childcare, and recreation

The People's Assembly was an important step in a larger movement-building process. Now we need YOU to join us in building out the next steps.

Here's what's next:

  1. Organizing Meeting - Join us Thursday, February 13 at 6:30 PM at the ONE DC office for our next Organizing Meeting where we will start the process of building out a strategy for the campaign demands we outlined above that emerged out of the People's Assembly.
  2. Member Orientation - Tuesday, February 11. Are you new to ONE DC? Join us to find out more about our mission, values, and history, and what it means to be a ONE DC member.
  3. Annual Membership Meeting. Save the Date for Saturday, March 14! Between now and then, ONE DC members will be meeting regularly to develop a strategy for each campaign. At the Annual Membership Meeting, the campaign strategies will be presented for feedback and approval from the Membership.

Finally, to build a strong people-powered movement, we need strong and powerful organizations. Become a ONE DC member by paying your 2020 membership dues today.

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Thank you!

Patrick Gregoire
ONE DC Right to Housing Organizer
Donate to ONE DC


Black August: A Commemoration of Freedom Fighters

For our monthly People's Platform event, ONE DC commemorated Black August, as reflected in People's Platform principle #7, which calls for decriminalization, demilitarization, and prison abolition. We attended in solidarity a prison letter writing night organized by Stop Police Terror Project-DC and HU Resist, an event centered around writing letters to incarcerated people to show our commitment and support to their struggle.

During the event, we had the privilege to hear from Jihad Abdulmumit on a live phone call. Jihad is chairperson of the National Jericho Movement and was a political prisoner for over 20 years, targeted by the state for his activities with the Black Liberation Movement. Jericho is a "movement with the defined goal of gaining recognition of the fact that political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside of the United States, despite the United States’ government’s continued denial...and winning amnesty and freedom for these political prisoners."

Attendees writing letters to incarcerated people

Jihad Abdulmumit provided an update on the Jericho Movement and the victories they've seen with their strategy to get members of the movement who are incarcerated because of their political views released from prison. As a response to questions posed by those in attendance, Jihad explained the importance of writing letters to incarcerated people. Knowing they have the support of the community is critical to encouraging and sustaining prisoners mentally as they struggle for freedom from state repression.

You can learn more about the National Jericho Movement here.
The People’s Platform is a movement of low-income and working class DC residents of color and people who share our values and vision. We seek to organize, educate, fight for and win truly affordable housing, sustaining work, and wellness for all in DC. Our monthly People's Platform general body is a space where we work towards our goals by prioritizing political education and leadership development in our work.

Support the Nationwide Prison Strike

The Black August People's Platform occurred in the midst of a nationwide prison strike.

Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.

Demands:

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human
    shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

Learn more about you can support the Nationwide Prison Strike by clicking here.


Organizing for Our Right to Housing: July People's Platform

The cost of housing has reached frightening levels in the nation's capital. At our July People's Platform, we emphasized the importance of knowing your tenant rights and how to exercise collective power to protect our communities. Three tenant leaders joined us and shared their ongoing fight and wins to preserve affordable housing where they live. The event was held at the ONE DC Black Workers Center, located in Anacostia, with the goal of identifying more tenant leaders living East of the River who want to organize in their building.

ONE DC members talk about the first steps to forming a tenant association

During the panel, we heard from three tenant-leaders who have been organizing at their property to protect their right to affordable, safe, and decent housing:

The Hodge on 7th

Ms. Deborah Brown is a tenant leader from the Hodge on 7th, a 55 and older building in Shaw. Residents at the Hodge are dealing with poor property management, safety issues, and property management turnover. They are organizing a tenant association and taking steps to have their demands met by the building owners.

Barry Farm

Ms. Paulette Matthews has been living at Barry Farm for almost 22 years and has been fighting, along with other tenants and Empower DC, against the demolition of the public housing property, which would mean the displacement of hundreds of Black families. Barry Farms residents demand redevelopment without displacement and the preservation of truly affordable public housing that meets the needs for large families in Washington, D.C.

Congress Heights

Mr. Robert Green is a resident at Congress Heights, where residents have been organizing against slum conditions for over five years. Recently, they have achieved several major victories! 1) Sanford Capital, the slumlord responsible for creating uninhabitable conditions at the property where Mr. Green lives, has been banned from doing business in the District for the next seven years by Attorney General Karl Racine's office after the CH tenants brought Sanford's shady business practices to light. 2) On Friday, July 13, D.C. Superior Court Judge Mott ordered CityPartners to pay $900,000 in repairs to rehabilitate the property. CityPartners (owned by Geoff Griffis) took control of the property from Sanford Capital in a potentially illegitimate transfer in December 2017, which the tenants and the city continue to fight in court. For more info about the ongoing struggle at Congress Heights, visit JusticeFirst.org.

All of the stories shared by Ms. Brown, Ms. Matthews, and Mr. Green had common themes: the critical need for tenants to organize themselves; the importance of knowing your tenant rights and how to exercise collective power; and that the struggle must go beyond our individual needs toward building tenant solidarity not only in our own building, but across properties, the city, and the world!

The People’s Platform is a movement of low-income and working class DC residents of color and people who share our values and vision. We seek to organize, educate, fight for and win truly affordable housing, sustaining work, and wellness for all in DC. Our monthly People's Platform general body is a space where we work towards our goals by prioritizing political education and leadership development in our work.

Our August People's Platform will commemorate Black August by exploring the intersection of mass incarceration and gentrification. We will meet on August 23 at 6:00 PM at the ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center, located at 2500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE.


Link Up for Black August

By Angie Whitehurst

For our monthly People's Platform political education event, ONE DC held "Link Up for Black August" at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Black August is a month of commemoration of the death of George Jackson on August 21st, 1971. The day is remembered to encourage social justice versus injustice throughout society.

Speakers and participants included Mia Clark, Eugene Puryear, Delonte Wilkins, Yasmina Mrabet, and Dominic Moulden; all of whom spoke passionately on the needs to change housing injustices, restorative programs for those incarcerated, and the Black Workers Center mandate to create a space where people can find "real jobs."

Raven Best and Reverend Erik Martinez Resley of The Sanctuaries, with a young team of printmakers, produced Black August posters on site as giveaways to attendees. Pop-up shops included EAT, The Difference Boutique, Cockee Clothing, and the Young Queen Project selling hats and shirts. Local caterer Peggy's Gourmet & Reek the Chef provided excellent food. Sounds were brought by DJ Say Say, with performances by Loony Goonz, King Shug, Supa Trippa, G.R.O.S.S. LIFE, & Visto of Hippe Life Krew.  Other organizations present were Our City DC, SURJ DC and organizers with the People's Congress of Resistance.

Also present were members of the cast from the upcoming production entitled, "The Arsonists," a play about the challenges of liberal politics some fifty years ago. The story sounds very similar to our current day events. ONE DC members and supporters are eligible for discount tickets to the performance on October 7th using code "ONEDC"

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Metro: Profits Over People

Below is a speech given by Ms J at the Transit Justice Rally with the Save Our System Coalition on June 29, 2017.

Good evening. My name is Jourgette Reid-Sillah. I am a resident of the District of Columbia and a patron of Metro Access. Before I became a MA rider I would see the vans everywhere and think isn’t that nice that Metro is seeing that those people who can’t access the bus have service. In fact Metro isn’t doing anything out of the goodness of their heart. It is the law that requires that the service be provided for persons with disabilities. Now I am one of “those people” I have a better idea of how things work. Metro Access are private companies that contract with Metro to provide the service. As we know all know the goal of a private company is to make a profit. Metro Access’s goal is to make money, Profit over people.

If it is more profitable for a client to wait passed the 30 minute window, profit wins.
If it is more profitable for a client to remain on a van more than 2 hours, profit wins.
If it is more profitable to have a GPS system that is programed to take a longer route, profit wins.

I have personally experienced being on the van with another client. We both live in SEDC. I am going to NWDC and the other client is going to Hyattsville. Although I was to be dropped off first the other client was going to her dialysis appointment and would be late. I heard her ask the dispatcher “Will Metro Access be able to return the minutes of life I may lose for having to get off the machine early when MA comes to pick me up?” This is a life issue for many of the clients that use this service. Profits over people. Please note that even though MA clients are persons with disabilities MANY work every day. Many for both State and Federal governments. In case you are wondering we do not ride for free. Each trip requires a pre-determined fair that is calculated by some “algorithm” that causes your fair to change. This can be a challenge to those on a fixed income. While Metro Access picks profit over people many clients must decide life over death. Which would you choose?

I am a member of ONE DC, an organization that believes in equitable situations for all peoples. The People's Platform Manifesto speaks of having access to safe and affordable transportation so that we can travel between our homes, jobs, schools and recreational spaces.

 

 


June People's Platform - Right to Transit


On June 29, ONE DC members joined the Save Our System Coalition in organizing DC residents and community members at the Columbia Heights Metro station for a Transit Justice Rally to express our discontent with the Metro system, with the goal of bringing awareness to how the community can fight for People's Platform principle #8, Access to safe and affordable transportation so that we can travel between our homes, jobs, schools, and recreational spaces.

In the past two years, construction has hindered the daily ride for many Washingtonians who commute via Metro, and WMATA has done a poor job of providing alternate transportation for those of us who rely on this system. Despite the community’s concerns, WMATA has chosen to ignore those who depend on Metro as their primary means of transportation, and has implemented new policies that further restrict our access to safe and affordable transportation. Many Metro riders feel we are “paying more for less” since WMATA implemented changes such as price increases, less frequent transit, and an end to late night trains.

Starting on June 26, 2017, Metro bus fares increased from $1.75 to $2.00. Metro rail added a $.10 fare increase during peak hours and $.25 during off-peak hours. Metro has also eliminated or reduced 33 travel routes in the entire DMV area, and cut 25% of Metro rail service during rush hour. When Metro outlined these changes in their budget and service changes, they failed to recognize how these changes will negatively affect thousands of people.

In addition to these flaws in the Metro bus and rail system, Metro Access, a privately contracted van service that provides transportation to disabled people in the District, has continued to disappoint riders. At the rally on June 29, ONE DC member Ms. Jourgette Reid-Sillah explained how Metro Access ensures that they make the maximum profit by taking longer routes and waiting past the 30-minute wait time, proving how they value “profits over people.” She points how this service exists because of a law requiring transportation services for those with disabilities, not “out of the goodness of their hearts.” Once again, Metro will do what they have to do in any given situation to capitalize off of those who use their services out of necessity, making it clear that WMATA’s main agenda is to maximize profit for private companies, rather than provide safe, accessible transportation for those of us who need it.


Moving forward, this fight doesn’t stop with the Transit Rally. The Save Our System Coalition continues to fight for transit justice by calling the community to action. If you wish to support, here are a few things you can do to help:  

  1. Sign the petition
  2. Join an upcoming meeting
  3. Like the campaign on Facebook

Turning the Light of Truth: #RentersDayofAction at Congress Heights

On Thursday, September 22nd, ONE DC, Justice First, tenants of Congress Heights, Brookland Manor, Museum Square, and our members and supporters rallied in solidarity with renters in DC and nationwide for the Renters Day of Action. Across the country, in more than 50 cities, renters rose up in powerful demonstrations of the power of everyday people standing up for racial, economic & social justice. Renters are making four major demands:
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In DC, residents living at a Congress Heights property are making another demand. Department of Housing and Community Development must take control of 3200 13th Street SE from the current owners to prevent known slum landlords and developers from gaining site control to move forward with their development plan in which they seek to displace Congress Heights tenants. Affected residents at Congress Heights and the larger neighborhood must be given priority as to determining alternative plans to create the affordable housing originally intended for the site in a manner that is beneficial to and determined by the community. Additionally, DHCD must take action to recuperate the missing $1 million from the owners of 3200, and commit to reinvesting it back into the development of 3200 to create much needed income-based affordable housing on the property as was originally intended.

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Workers with Project Retail also shared their experience with displacement in DC & request support for their petition for fair access to public transportation.

Photo Credit: O. Michael Leslie


Do You Support Black Organizing?

Resist.jpgLet me tell you a story about Libanos, an African immigrant living at Mount Vernon Plaza. A few months ago, Libanos was participating in a class discussion at UDC-Community College when the professor, who happened to be a ONE DC member, started talking about #BlackLivesMatter in DC and ONE DC. Libanos shouted out, “That’s my organization!” With tears in her eyes, Libanos described how resident leaders in Shaw are working with ONE DC organizer and African immigrant, Marybeth Onyeukwu, to resist displacement in their neighborhood. Under the leadership of over a dozen Mount Vernon Plaza resident-leaders and support from ONE DC’s People Platform campaign, Mount Vernon Plaza residents won their rent court cases, preserved 63 low-cost units, and now continue the struggle to win permanently low-cost housing at Mount Vernon Plaza.

Show your support for Black residents, workers, and organizing by making a donation to ONE DC today.

tenantorganizingTable.pngONE DC’s work has always been about doing the hard work of movement building - building community and building leaders to fight back against the rapid gentrification, displacement, and unemployment that longtime DC residents are facing. Our organizing connects the dots between underemployment, poor jobs, mass incarceration, and the demolition of affordable housing, forcing the state and private interests to recognize that #BlackLivesMatter.

This year, ONE DC’s Right to Income campaign is fighting to ensure that #BlackWorkersMatter in DC. With support from ONE DC organizers, resident leaders are forming a coalition of partners to plan for the establishment of a Black Workers Center, a black resident-led space whose mission is to create and maintain racial and economic justice.

As we build a movement to make #BlackWorkersMatter in DC, we are focused on building leadership, especially Black women leadership, who are so often minimized in conversations about Black employment. For us, movement building isn’t a fad: it requires us to organize alongside Libanos, Azieb, and countless other Black women leaders who are fighting for an economically and racially equitable city.kimandphyllissa.jpg

But to ensure we are building a movement and not a moment, we must continue to invest in leaders like Libanos. Movement building is hard work. But some residents—like Libanos, Azieb, Kimberly, & Phylissa (pictured) —are up for the task and ready to fight!

Here’s how you can help. Make a donation today to support ONE DC in sending members and staff to participate in movement-building trainings: Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), and the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). ONE DC is a member-led, member-funded movement, and with your support, we can continue to build the leadership of Black organizers and longtime DC residents who will pave our way to a more equitable DC.

Build the movement with us.


ONE DC Responds to Demonstrations across the Country to Reclaim the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organizers around the country coordinated a series of events to reclaim his legacy as an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist freedom fighter. In response to these demonstrations, Dominic T. Moulden, Organizer at ONE DC, issued the following statement:

“In a time where Dr. King’s radical politics are consistently misrepresented as capitulation to the status quo it is inspiring to watch a new generation of organizers remember and practice Dr. King’s unwavering commitment to protest. Dr. King taught active participation in civil disobedience was absolutely necessary in order to push the country towards racial and economic justice. He was deeply concerned for the poor and never missed an opportunity to challenge a system that denied people the ability to live with true dignity and respect. Dr. King understood true freedom for people of color included economic security.

Dr. King’s message of racial and economic justice is still very much needed today. Over the last decade, the divide between the “haves” and “have nots” have become glaringly apparent in the District. We know the current crisis in the city has not been by happenstance and is directly connected to neoliberal policies. City officials continue to auction off public resources including public land, housing and shelters in exchange for very little. Councilmembers consistently choose to disinvest from social welfare programs while calling for more funding for the police, which has resulted in more surveillance and harassment of low-income communities of color specifically in the form of “jump-out” squads. In essence, the issues of over policing, poverty and displacement do not happen in a vacuum and inform each other. It is time for an intervention.

In response to the crisis, several community members, leaders and organizers have come together to create the People’s Platform. The People’s Platform is a comprehensive policy agenda that addresses structural inequities primarily affecting long-time, low-income residents of color.

The members and leadership of ONE DC are committed to continuing the tradition of disruptive protest to change the status quo. We are dedicated to seeing change and will not stop until the District becomes a truly equitable city.”

 

Press Contacts: Marybeth Onyeukwu, ONE DC Organizer
organizer@onedconline.org
(202) 232-2915


DC Government Tells Owner of Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments to Stop Rent Increases

After successfully demanding a meeting with Councilmember Muriel Bowser, the People’s Platform Alliance, including Mount Vernon Plaza residents, won a temporary reprieve from the management of Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments. Several residents received a thirty-day extension to the initial notice to pay an extra $600 a month or vacate the property.

 

In a letter dated October 21st, officials from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) notified the owner of Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments to “cease and desist with any attempts to raise the rents on the rent restricted units without DHCD consent and in violation of affordability restrictions.” In response to this most recent development, Mount Vernon Plaza tenant, Quitel Andrews, had the following to say:

It is clear the only way tenants are guaranteed any kind of protection is when we organize. Landlords will use any and every opportunity to take advantage of the increasingly expensive rental market even if that means pushing longtime D.C. residents out. It is imperative that city officials use every legal mechanism available to protect tenants. If we did not organize and demand Councilmember Bowser to step in, the owner would have gotten away with unethically and quite possibly illegally displacing residents.”

 

Despite the letter, property managers at Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments continue to employ intimidation tactics to force residents out.  On Friday, one resident, Alem Gheremariam, received a notice to vacate his apartment before his lease had expired.

 

The situation at Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments demonstrates the importance of passing legislation that ensures permanent housing affordability in the District and ultimately a comprehensive strategy that addresses the housing needs of all D.C. residents.

 

The demonstration in Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s office is the first step in holding elected officials accountable. D.C. officials must be pushed to embrace a more inclusive housing plan for the city. Most importantly, the next mayor will play an integral role in creating a truly equitable D.C for all residents.

 

The People’s Platform Alliance will continue to organize until the economic, racial, and gender inequities affecting low-income people are eliminated.

 

Press Contact: Rosemary Ndubuizu, ONE DC organizer
rosemary.ndubuizu@gmail.com
(323) 397-8347