• Empower DC Says

    Save DC Schools

    Join our campaign to save DC public schools and protect public education. read more

  • In Barry Farm and the world

    Housing is a Human Right

    Empower DC is helping lead the fight against the demolition of public housing in DC. read more

  • Communities fight for their schools

    You Cannot Have My School

    As the DC government plans to close down community public schools to convert them into charters or condos, parents are fighting back. read more

  • Empower DC fights to preserve public housing

    DC Needs Public Housing

    Empower DC is organizing public housing residents in Barry Farm and Greenleaf Gardens to fight against the Choice/New Communities gentrification projects which will reduce the public housing stock. read more

The Latest Empower DC News

 

Sep 12, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Racism in the New DC: A Panel Discussion

as part of Empower DC's 10th Annual Membership Meeting

Saturday, September 20, 2014; 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Christ United Methodist Church

900 4th Street, SW

Limited, free childcare provided. Contact Jennifer to reserve your spot.

For questions or more info, contact Jennifer (202-234-9119 x105; jennifer@empowerdc.org.)

 

This year, Empower DC's annual meeting features a panel discussion on how racism and discrimination currently manifest themselves in DC. How are long-time, mostly Black residents of the  city being affected by the influx of younger white people? Why do our -- mainly Black -- city leaders push policies such as gentrification and school reform that hurt low and moderate income Black communities? Speakers include Courtland Milloy, Ron Hampton, Dr. Sabiyha Prince, and members of Empower DC's public housing and public education campaigns.

 

We'll also be voting on proposed changes to Empower DC's bylaws and electing members of Empower DC's Board of Directors. Bylaw changes include amending who can be on a committee in order to be in compliance with DC's nonprofit code and adding the Executive Director as an "ex officio" member of the Board. Click here to read a flier with the line-by-line text changes.

 

For the elections, there is one new candidates that has been vetted and approved by the full Board: Amanda Northcross. In addition, two current members of the Board, John McDermott and Diana Onley-Campbell, are candidates to renew their two-year terms of service.

 

Only dues-paying members of Empower DC can vote on the bylaw changes and elect Board members. Sign up and pay your dues today. You can do it online, or by mailing a check to Empower DC, 1419 V Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.

 

[ Read More ]

 


 

Sep 10, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Empower DC hosts a one-hour radio show on WPFW 89.3, Taking Action, every Tuesday at 1:00 pm to talk about critical issues facing DC's low-income communities of color.  We bring in DC residents -- the real experts -- to talk about the challenges our communities face and solutions designed to uplift our people. If you have a suggestion for a show, a question, or a comment, email takingactiondc@gmail.com.

 

September 9, 2014: Daniel del Pielago, Empower DC's Education Organizer, is joined in studio by retired DCPS teachers, Dr. Robert Matthews and Dr. John Taylor, two professional educators with a combined 60 years experience. Dr. Matthews and Dr. Taylor give their perspective on Washington DC's education reform, talking about the loss of skilled teachers, unfair teacher evaluation practices, increased high-stakes testing, and school closures. At the end of the show Daniel interviews Brenda Williams, whose daughter attends Sharpe Health School, which is slated for closure. She talks about her concerns over the school closure and the lack of information provided to her.

 

[Click here for a week-by-week listing of all our shows.]

[ Read More ]

 


 

Sep 4, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

“People are concerned and need some predictability.... We can do better.”

                -- Anthony Hood, Chairman, DC Zoning Commission

 

On Monday, July 28, the DC Zoning Commission again considered the Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposed by developers and the city for Barry Farm. This was not a public hearing, but instead a Zoning Commission meeting for the members of the Commission to discuss the PUD and subsequent information submitted by all parties. 

 

It is clear that the work of Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association (BFTAA) and Empower DC is having an impact. We’ve delayed – and hopefully will prevent – the displacement of hundreds of low-income families by educating residents about the truth of this redevelopment and the relocation plan; by showing the Zoning Commission that real human beings – not just statistics and numbers – will be affected; and by exposing the callous greed and disregard for residents shown by the developer and city.

 

At the meeting, the Commissioners noted several critical instances where the developers and the city were intentionally vague or blatantly ignored the concerns of residents.  For example:

 

  • 100% of residents are concerned about what will happen to them and their families and 92% said they wanted to return in a community survey.  However, the developers and city presented only a generic diagram to show the relocation process. Would you trust this diagram?

 

  • The PUD states that after redevelopment, families will continue to pay 30% of their income for housing, but because of the differences between public housing and the voucher program, there will be additional “responsibilities and expectations.” This is code for credit checks and ineligibility for those with rent in arrears, among other things. Meaning that even if the developer and city design and commit to a real relocation process,  the majority of families will not be able to come back. 

 

  • 76% of residents felt that they were either “somewhat informed” or “not very well informed” about the development plans for Barry Farm

 

After their discussion, the Zoning Commission scheduled another hearing for Thursday, September 18 – and we’ll be back in the room!  This will be a hearing with testimony and presentations from all concerned parties. 

 

To get ready for this hearing, Empower DC is organizing an outreach day to “Wrap Our Arms Around Barry Farm” on Saturday, September 6.  All are welcome – we need your help! Meet at 3:00 pm at 1336 Stevens Road, SE. RAIN DATE INFO!: The forecast is calling for thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon. If it's raining hard, we'll postpone the outreach day until Sunday, September 7 -- same time and same place. If you're unsure, call Schyla at (202) 704-7592. 

 

For more info about our campaign to Save Barry Farm, contact Schyla Pondexter-Moore (202-234-9119 x.101; housing@empowerdc.org).

 

Post fliers around your neighborhood for "Wrap Our Arms Around Barry Farm" day on September 6.

 

Read the PUD application and other materials on the Zoning Commission website. (Enter 14-02 in the seach box.)

 

Read Empower DC and BFTAA's analysis of the PUD and residents' demands here.

[ Read More ]

 


 

Jul 22, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

CALL TO ACTION!
Stand with Barry Farm at the Zoning Commission!
Monday, July 28, 2014; 6:30 PM
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 200-S

Bring ID to enter

Contact Schyla Pondexter-Moore (202-234-9119 x.101, housing@empowerdc.org) with questions

 

After two previous hearings and the submission of several hundred pages of documents, the DC Zoning Commission is set to rule on the future of Barry Farm. Barry Farm Tenants & Allies Association (BFTAA) calls on Empower DC members and supporters to turn out and stand with them to tell the DC Zoning Commission to Reject the Developers' Planned Unit Development (PUD) application!

 

Barry Farm and Wade Road Apartments, totaling 444-units on coveted land near the Anacostia Metro, is the latest community to be disrupted and displaced, and residents' rights put at-risk because of planned development.  The developers' Planned Unit Development (PUD) application must be rejected because it inadequately addresses critical questions about affordability and the well-being of residents, and would cause an immediate net-loss of desperately needed affordable housing in the District at a time when we are experiencing a housing crisis among low-income and homeless families.

 

Click here for more detals about the PUD and to read Barry Farm residents' demands.

 

Click here to go the the DC Zoning Commission website to view the documents submitted by BFTAA and our expert witnesses, as well as those by the developer.

[ Read More ]

 


 

Jun 2, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Are you passionate about organizing community power? Do you support Empower DC’s work, and want to lend your hand to grow, sustain and steward the organization? Please nominate yourself or someone you know for the Board of Directors! 

 

To be eligible the nominee must:

 

  1. Be a dues–paying member for at least 3 months prior to the vote (planned for September 20th).  If you have never been a member of Empower DC, you must join by June 20th to be eligible. 
  1. Be willing to fulfill the duties of the Board including monthly Board meetings, participation in fundraising, oversight and guidance of the organization.
  1. NOT be an elected official (including ANC Commissioner) or current staff member of Empower DC.  Elected officials and Empower DC staff members are ineligible to serve on the Board.

 

Empower DC is very interested in recruiting Board members who are residents of traditional public housing or those who have children/grandchildren in traditional DCPS public schools.

 

The Nominations Committee will review all nominations and meet with candidates to review the requirements of the position.  A roster of candidates will be sent out to our members in preparation for the vote.  All nominations must be received by July 15, 2014.

 

To nominate someone – including yourself – fill out the nominations form and return it to Empower DC, 1419 V Street, NW Washington, DC 20009; by email to jennifer@empowerdc.org;  or by fax to (202) 234-6655. Direct all questions to jennifer@empowerdc.org or (202) 234-9119 x105.

 


 

May 22, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Monday, June 2, 2014; 7:00 pm

In front of McKinley High School

151 T Street, NE

Questions or for more info contact Daniel (202-234-9119 x104, daniel@empowerdc.org)

 

Black and Latino parents are increasingly being pushed out of their children's schools by administrators and others who don't want parents to express their opinions. Join us for a press conference and candlelight vigil to highlight the death of democracy for communities of color in our schools. If you have a story about being pushed out of your child's school that you would like to share at the press conference, please contact Daniel.

 

Click here for bilingual (English/Spanish) fliers to put up in your neighborhood.

 


 

May 21, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) are the most local form of elected government in DC -- and they can have a big impact on what happens in your neighborhood. Come to Empower DC's next Empowerment Circle to learn more about ANCs, including how to start the process of running for the November election. Our guests will include Gottlieb Simon of the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions; Kathy Fairley, Special Assistant, DC Board of Elections and Ethics; Eboni-Rose Thompson, ANC7F02; Pho Palmer, ANC8C07; Nancy MacWood, ANC3C09; and Renee Bowser, ANC4D02.

 

Before the training, make sure you know what your ANC is by looking it up here

 

Saturday, June 7, 2014: 2:30 -4:30 pm
Benning Road Library
3935 Benning Road, NE
Questions or to RSVP for childcare, contact Jennifer (202-234-9119, jennifer@empowerdc.org)

 

Download fliers to put up in your neighborhood.

 


 

May 15, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 15, 2014

CONTACT: Daniel del Pielago, Empower DC (202) 234-9119 x 104 (office), 202-276-4475 (cell)

 

In Federal Court, Black Parents Refute DC’s Justification for Closing 15 Neighborhood Public Schools 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the federal court case challenging the constitutionality of the January 2013 decision by Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to close fifteen public schools in Black neighborhoods, plaintiffs filed papers Monday showing that the claimed justification for closing the schools was false.   Plaintiffs Shannon Smith and Marlece Turner’s children’s schools were among the schools defendants closed.  The plaintiffs are members of Empower DC, a citywide community organization promoting the self-advocacy of low and moderate-income DC residents that has led organizing efforts to block school closures. 

 

Plaintiffs’ opposition to summary judgment argues that on the week 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education,”[ t]he vision of high-quality and integrated public schools articulated in the Brown… landmark decision[] has been steadily and intentionally replaced in the District of Columbia by a divided system in which certain, mostly White, affluent students West of Rock Creek Park enjoy the benefit of serious investments in their traditional public schools, while  mostly Black students East of the Park witness their public schools being closed and increasingly and intentionally replaced by publicly funded but privately operated charter schools”.   

 

[ Read More ]

 


 

May 8, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

Update:  Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage, a report by the Journey 4 Justice Alliance, has just been released publicly. It's a damning look at the devastation caused by the planned growth of charter schools and the concurrent closure of neighborhood public schools in communities of color across the country. Download and read -- we'd love to hear your comments.

 

Also today, Journey 4 Justice filed three complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,

which prohibits discrimination in use of federal funds. The complaints, which detail the discriminatory impact of school closures and privatization on children of color, allege discrimination in Newark, Chicago, and New Orleans – each a city deeply impacted by school closures. Press release available here. Links to the complaints and supporting material available on the Advancement Project's website.  
 
***
 

May 17 marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case that legally ended segregation in public schools. However, the struggle continues as public schools across the country are being closed in communities of color and our neighborhoods are losing access to free public schools that children can We March for Integrated Schoolsattend as a matter of right. Join Empower DC and our national partners for a series of events to commemorate Brown v. Board of Education and continue the fight for high-quality education for all our children.

 

For more information about these events, contact Daniel at 202-234-9119 x.104 or daniel@empowerdc.org.

 

Rally at the Supreme Court, then March to DOJ

May 13, 2014; 12:30 pm
Gather at U.S. Supreme Court, 1 First Street, NE

End at Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

 

Local Day of Action
Saturday, May 17, 2014; 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Sousa Middle School
3650 Ely Place, SE
Local day of action that includes a community forum and workshops. Topics include school closures, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the privatization of education. Co-sponsored with DCJWJ, MLOV, Our DC, Teaching for Change, WTU, and The Council of School Officers.


And listen to the most recent edition of Empower DC's radio show, Taking Action, to hear local parent activists Marlece Turner and Shannon Smith talk about how school closures have affected their families and the ongoing fight for high-quality neighborhood public schools.

 


 

Mar 27, 2014
Posted by: parisa

 

We need to demand that DC invest in public housing and stop pushing people out of DC or into homelessness! We demand that the city:

  • Renovate the 130+ vacant public housing units and move in homeless families
  • Allocate funds to renovate and maintain all public housing units
  • Stop demolishing traditional public housing

 

The city now has fewer thatn 8,000 units of public housing, down from 20,000 -- and a homeless crisis. In its budget, DC allocates money for housing police, but none for the actual housing, relying solely on drastically dwindling federal HUD funds. And when the Mayor and Councilmembers talk about investing $100 million in affordable housing, they don't mean housing for our city's most vulnerable residents. They mean "workforce housing" for those earning $60,000.

 

Is this the city you want to live in?

 

Join us for a rally and testify at the DCHA budget hearing:

 

Wednesday, April 30

12:00 Noon

Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

 

For more information or to find out how you can get involved, contact Schyla (202-234-9119, housing@empowerdc.org).

 


 

 


Upcoming Events and Actions

20 2014

Racism in the New DC

As part of Empower DC's 10th Annual Membership Meeting

more >>

 

 



 

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Campaign Spotlight

Housing

Affordable Housing

Empower DC works to preserve and protect affordable housing, ensure the creation of more affordable housing, and heighten tenants’ knowledge of their housing rights. We do this through developing the leadership and collective power of tenants directly impacted by the need for affordable housing In 2012, our focus is working with residents of Public Housing to ensure they are informed about their rights and are able to collectively...
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Education

Public Education Campaign

Empower DC’s Public Education Campaign is campaign is building an organized and empowered group of parents and community members concerned about DC Public Schools, who through collective action are becoming a political force and holding officials accountable to their needs. The campaign is currently focused on informing the public about potential school closures and organizing residents to demand investment in, not closure of, DC Public Schools...
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Ivy City

Ivy City Campaign for Crummel School

Empower DC is assisting the historic Ivy City community with re-establishing a strong and sustainable Civic Association, and developing neighborhood leadership and strategic campaigns around several issues including the restoration of the Alexander Crummell School for use as a workforce development and community center..
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