• 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


Jun 24, 2016
Posted by: parisa




Jun 24, 2016
Posted by: parisa


Click here to watch the official Ivy City Need A Rec music video.

[ Read More ]



Apr 26, 2016
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


May 3, 2016: What is the role of the tenant organizer in a city experiencing an affordable housing crisis?  Philip Kennedy, a tenant organizer with Latino Economic Development Center joins us to talk about tenants’ rights, organizing and the upcoming 9th Annual Tenant Town Hall.


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

[ Read More ]



Jan 11, 2016
Posted by: parisa


Looking for two great people to join our team!  Community Organizer (full time) - Office Manager (part time)



Sep 28, 2015
Posted by: parisa


Saturday, October 17; 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Union Temple Baptist Church

1225 W Street, SE


Join Empower DC for our annual membership meeting featuring an interactive discussion -- This is How We Organize and Fight Gentrification and Displacement -- on how unified, organized communities can combat gentrification and displacement.  The conversation will inlcude the factors that lead to displacement, the anatomy of a campaign to save public housing, and concrete ways to immediately support residents of Barry Farm. 


We'll also provide updates on the growth of Empower DC, and our members will vote on a proposed bylaw change, as well as elect members of our Board of Directors. (Full agenda here.)


Lunch and free childcare provided.


For more info or to reserve your childcare spot, contact Parisa (parisa@empowerdc.org, 202-234-9119 x100).



Sep 28, 2015
Posted by: parisa


WAMU 88.5 FM

By Martin Austermuhle

[Read full article here.]


Marketed as a “stunning renovation,” a rowhouse at 14th and Euclid streets NW sold in August for $920,000, down slightly from its asking price. That the 2,260-square foot, four-bedroom home was able to fetch that price in Columbia Heights isn’t surprising. Neither is the $703,000 that a smaller rowhouse — also fully renovated — at 13th and Emerald streets NE sold for late last month.


But what is surprising is who's selling these homes, and many more like them: the D.C. Housing Authority, the independent city agency charged with operating, maintaining and building public housing throughout the city.


In recent months, the Housing Authority has been renovating and selling off single-family homes in some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods. The renovations — most costing hundreds of thousands of dollars — feature many high-end flourishes more closely associated with luxury than public housing: marble countertops, new hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances.


[Read full article here.]



Sep 10, 2015
Posted by: parisa


Thursday, September 10; 6-8:30 PM
New location due to rain:

Bethesda Baptist Church

1808 Capitol Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20002


We're also happy to announce that Ayanna Gregory will open the event with a performance.


Rev. Alexander Crummell was a leading abolitionist, Pan-African nationalist and champion for Black Lives in his time.

Please join us for a simple celebration of this great man, and of the Alexander Crummell School, a historic landmark and his only known memorial.

Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of the African American Studies Department at Howard University, will speak to the present day relevance of Crummell.  An excerpt from Crummell's work "The Race Problem in America” will be presented by actor Ronald Smokey Stevens.  

In addition, Crummell School alumni and Ivy City residents will present a vision for the future of the Crummell School.

Seating is limited.  Please RSVP.

Sponsored by Friends of Crummell School, Empower DC, DC Preservation League, dog & pony dc and ANC 5D01.

[ Read More ]



Jul 31, 2015
Posted by: parisa


The Washington Post, July 31, 2015

By Perry Stein


[Read full article here.]


Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has signaled to Ivy City residents that their small, 1.7-square-mile neighborhood near the Maryland border is not the city’s “dumping ground.”


The mayor announced at a community meeting that the city won’t allow the area’s historic and long-shuttered Alexander Crummell School to be used as an overflow parking lot for private buses serving Union Station. The decision is a victory for residents who long have fought the city for using their largely poor, black and industrial neighborhood as a home for less-desirable city needs.


[Read full article here.]

[ Read More ]



Jul 28, 2015
Posted by: parisa


The Washington Informer, July 28, 2015By WI Web Staff


[Read full article here.]


In the wake of plans recently announced by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to privatize the Alexander Crummell School in Northeast, residents in the Ivy City community are pushing back against gentrification efforts, demanding instead the old school building be used for recreation and workforce development.


In addition to defying development projects such as liquor distilleries and loft apartments already underway in Ivy City, residents have also staunchly opposed former Mayor Vincent Gray's proposal to allow an overflow of tour buses to park at Crummell, contending the buses hamper the community's air quality.


[Read full article here.]

[ Read More ]



Jul 16, 2015
Posted by: parisa


Empower DC needs your help.  Are you passionate about Organizing Community Power?  Do you support our work and want to help grow, sustain, and steward the organization?  If so, please nominate yourself or someone you know for Empower DC's Board of Directors.  Nomination form available as a PDF or a Google form.


Empower DC is very interested in recruiting Board members who are residents of traditional public housing, those who have children/grandchildren in traditional DCPS schools, people of color, and those with low incomes.  


All nominations must be received by July 31, 2015.


Continue reading for more info, including eligibility guidelines. 


[ Read More ]



Jun 26, 2015
Posted by: parisa


The Zoning Commission has announced that it will hear the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association’s motion to reconsider on Monday, June 29.  We’ll mobilize a few members of Barry Farm to be there.  You are welcome to join us, but please know that we are last on a very long agenda and no testimony will be given.


Monday, June 29, 2015

6:30 pm

441 4th Street, NW

Suite 200-S

Bring ID to enter


Read more about BFTAA’s motion to reconsider the Zoning Commission’s prior approval of the developer’s PUD by clicking on the "read more" link below.


[ Read More ]




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Campaign Spotlight

Dear Friend,


What does community-led development look like? This year, with your help, we can show the city how it’s done by supporting the Ivy City community’s ability to influence the development of their historic Alexander Crummell School. Please consider supporting this work with as much as you can contribute to help us reach our $15,000 goal by June 30th. Your donation will allow us to continue a paid leadership development program with Ivy City youth, called #TheRealIvyCity.


Antwan and Burke tour the Crummell School site along with interested developers.

Ivy City has fought for its civic heart, the Alexander Crummell School, to be restored as a community center for decades. I have battled alongside them for the last 15 years. In fact, my experience in Ivy City inspired the founding of Empower DC in 2003.


If you have followed Empower DC’s work, you know that in 2013 we successfully sued the city to stop the placement of a polluting tour bus depot at the Alexander Crummell School. You may also know that the community has asked the city to make this a site for recreation and workforce development, but instead Mayor Bowser recently released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for developers to propose projects there. We stopped what would have been an environmental catastrophe for the neighborhood – and now we also need to make sure the redevelopment of the site takes into account the needs of the current residents of the neighborhood, instead of just more condos for the new residents that are streaming into the city.


Here’s where you come in. We are building a team to respond to the RFP and deliver what the community has long desired. With your support, we will make sure that the Ivy City community is leading the decision making process throughout the development of the proposal, through the selection process, and into the actual development.


Meet #TheRealIvyCity, a youth leadership program we developed in January which has employed 7 Ivy City youth age 19-24 as Community Designers, a title they came up with to explain the leadership role they are playing in their community. Members of #TheRealIvyCity came to us with little or no previous work experience. They have faced discrimination when attempting to gain employment at local businesses like the new Nike store on New York Ave. But with Empower DC they have developed their public speaking skills, written and presented testimony at the DC City Council, met with the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and created and carried out a survey of over 160 residents, the results of which (which can be viewed here) were even cited in the city’s RFP for Crummell School.


The mantra of #TheRealIvyCity is “Ivy City Needs a Rec,” which is also the title of the new song we helped them record (video coming soon). Their survey of residents proves it. Over 88% of respondents said that recreation was the greatest need in Ivy City, and over 85% said that recreation would be the best use of the historic Alexander Crummell School. As Burke says in his verse, “Ivy City needs a rec, everybody knows it’s true.” 


Our work with #TheRealIvyCity shows that we can develop leadership among Ivy City youth by providing them with tangible, real world leadership opportunities. Together we can help these amazing youth build on what they’ve learned thus far and develop employment skills by working as organizers in their neighborhood. We initially planned to end this program on June 30th, but the vision has expanded now. We want to continue to offer positions for Ivy City youth at least through the end of the year, and we want them to learn how community development is done by being part of the team that is responding to the RFP for Crummell School.


We intend to demonstrate how to put the Community back into Community Development. #TheRealIvyCity will be ambassadors for their community throughout the process, gaining detailed feedback from residents as plans are developed, and keeping residents informed and involved throughout the city’s timeline of decision making.


Rev. Alexander Crummell famously said, “Strive to make something of yourself, then strive to make the most of yourself.” He was a noted abolitionist, educator and clergyman who dedicated his life to the uplift of Black Americans. We envision the Crummell School and site, the only known monument to Crummell, as a beacon of opportunity in keeping with his legacy.


But it can really only be so if we create opportunities for the people of Ivy City to lead this process. Your donation to continue #TheRealIvyCity will allow us to employ Ivy City youth at a critical time which will determine the future of the historic Crummell School, the heart of Ivy City.


We appreciate your donation of any amount, which can be made online below. Thank you for helping us demonstrate what it looks like for residents to lead the development in their communities! We are so excited about this work. I hope you are too.


In power,



Parisa Norouzi

Executive Director