• DC Displacement of the Poor: They Do What They Can Get Away With

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Empower+DC-325x225.jpg

    Published October 23, 2014 at 11:13 am - 2 Comments Cross-Posted from Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six Written by Johanna Bockman As many of you know, there is much discussion about the future ...

    DC Displacement of the Poor: They Do What They Can Get Away With
  • Solidarity: The People Respond to the Ferguson Rebellions

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ferguson_0_0-325x225.jpg

    Published October 20, 2014 at 9:04 am - No Comments On August 9th, 2014, eighteen year-old Black male, Michael Brown, was shot six times by Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson, later dying ...

    Solidarity: The People Respond to the Ferguson Rebellions
  • Protests Against Climate Change in Washington, DC

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/climate-change-protest-325x225.jpg

    Published September 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm - One Comment On September 21, 2014 over 300,000 people swarmed Manhattan in mass protest against global climate change. With indigenous peoples and people of colo ...

    Protests Against Climate Change in Washington, DC
  • New Lens Productions – The Power of the Media in the Hands of Baltimore Youth

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/10428517_10152095739691712_5800392510763890361_n-325x225.jpg

    Published September 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm - No Comments To promote social change through the use of art and media.   The above audio is an interview of New Lens, recorded for This Light Sounds for Soc ...

    New Lens Productions – The Power of the Media in the Hands of Baltimore Youth
  • Disparity in DC Public Schools

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/images-1.jpeg

    Published August 25, 2014 at 7:49 am - 2 Comments Several conclusions have been brought to the public view to why students specifically in DC public schools are dropping out. This problem has become ...

    Disparity in DC Public Schools
  • One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/What-Really-Matters-325x225.jpg

    Published August 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm - No Comments I asked DC Public School graduate Quintess Bond why she thought DCPS test scores were so low? She presents her thesis in the form of this documentary ...

    One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools
  • Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Southwest-Plan-image-325x225.jpg

    Published July 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm - No Comments Tensions ran high between developers and community members last Wednesday night, June 25, during a meeting regarding the proposed redesign of the Sou ...

    Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment
  • The Human Heart and How It Works

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bey-with-heart-smaller1.jpg

    Published July 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm - No Comments According to The New People’s Physician the human heart is a hollow muscular organ located in the breast that pumps blood received from the veins i ...

    The Human Heart and How It Works
  • Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Proud-to-Be1-325x225.jpg

    Published June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm - No Comments Crossposted from the Huffington Post Written by Amanda Blackhorse The Washington NFL team needs to change its name. I am a proud member of the Navajo ...

    Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name
  • White Paper: How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/In-with-the-New-OUt-with-the-Old-325x225.jpg

    Published June 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm - 4 Comments Written by Eugene Puryear This white paper explores solutions to one of the most pressing issue for residents of D.C.—housing affordability. Make H ...

    White Paper:  How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia
  • Capitol Hill Community Foundation Supporting Computer Literacy at Grassroots DC

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Computer-Class-at-Grassroots-DC-325x225.jpg

    Published April 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm - 2 Comments When Grassroots DC began setting up shop within the Potomac Gardens Public Housing complex in May of 2013, it was with the intention of providing med ...

    Capitol Hill Community Foundation Supporting Computer Literacy at Grassroots DC
  • Confronting Gentrification: Part Two

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Gentrification-325x225.jpg

    Published April 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm - No Comments On February 18, a panel discussion on the critical implications of “urban renewal” in DC communities took place at American University. T ...

    Confronting Gentrification:  Part Two
  • Writing History with Potomac Gardens Residents

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Potomac-Gardens-Wikipedia-Page-325x225.jpg

    Published February 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 2 Comments Cross-posted from Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six by Johanna Bockman Back in December 2012, I took a look at the Wikipedia page for Potomac ...

    Writing History with Potomac Gardens Residents
  • Become an Advocate for Affordable Housing

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Testifying-at-City-Council-325x225.jpg

    Published February 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm - No Comments . . . → Read More: Become an Advoca ...

    Become an Advocate for Affordable Housing

DC Displacement of the Poor: They Do What They Can Get Away With

Cross-Posted from Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six
Written by Johanna Bockman

As many of you know, there is much discussion about the future of the DC General homeless shelter. This morning, the Post’s Petula Dvorak stated, “Developers are salivating over D.C. General. It’s a huge property with plenty of potential. So there’s no question that it will be shut down and sold. That part of the plan no one is worried about.” Mayor Gray is rightly calling to rehouse those at the DC General shelter before closing it, but his plan is based on an unfounded belief that private apartment owners will now come forward and house the hundreds of families at DC General at rents far below market rates. Thus, in the interests of “salivating” developers, hundreds of homeless people are going to be displaced again? DC General is District property and could be renovated, maybe even employing homeless or near-homeless workers, if the District wanted to do so. However, developers and homeowners in the area are working hard for the “revitalization” of the DC General area, which they see as requiring the removal of their homeless neighbors. The deterioration of DC General is required as proof of the need for “revitalization.”

Photo by Empower DC

A few weeks ago, I went to a great panel discussion, “Racism in the New DC,” organized by Empower DC, which spoke to these issues from a very refreshing perspective. The speakers were three public housing residents working to maintain public housing and public schools in DC (Marlece Turner, D. Bell, and Shannon Smith), as well as Dr. Sabiyha Prince (the author of African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, DC), Ron Hampton (a former police officer and activist against police abuse), and Post columnist Courtland Milloy.

The main takeaway from the panel discussion was that institutional racism (not individual racist people but a racist system) works based on the idea that brown and black people do not deserve as good things as white people do. Improvements in the city are made for white people both because they often have more money and also because they are seen as deserving better things, like better schools and better services.

I asked the panel about a recent Post article that had said that, “Almost 10 years after the District vowed to assure low-income residents in four areas that they wouldn’t be displaced if their neighborhoods were revitalized,” the District decided that this was “overly optimistic.” The District was considering a policy change to “no longer guarantee that residents have a right to stay in their neighborhoods, and the promise that existing public housing won’t be demolished until a new building is constructed to replace it would be abandoned.” Empower DC and others have been warning people about these false promises for some time.

So, I asked the panel, is this a new policy? or is this a statement of what the District was already doing? Courtland Milloy immediately said, “They do what they can get away with.” He explained that, when District officials made these promises, they had to to make their redevelopment plans and the destruction of public housing palatable. Earlier, Milloy had stated that we need to acknowledge institutional racism and that these “revitalization” policies are in the interest of property owners and not in the interests of the homeless and other poor DC residents.

How can we change the situation in which “They do what they can get away with”? As a start, we might recognize that the journalist’s statement “So there’s no question that it [DC General] will be shut down and sold. That part of the plan no one is worried about” is not a statement of fact but rather a statement supported by those who are interested in this outcome and “can get away with” it. It is a political statement in the battle over space in the District. The next step would be to support a range of policies, including permanent public housing and permanent affordable housing in the District.


Solidarity: The People Respond to the Ferguson Rebellions

ferguson_0_0

On August 9th, 2014, eighteen year-old Black male, Michael Brown, was shot six times by Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson, later dying from his injuries. In response to this tragedy, Brown’s community members constructed a memorial for the young man at the place of his death. However, the memorial was soon [...] . . . → Read More: Solidarity: The People Respond to the Ferguson Rebellions


Washington DC Residents Decry Police Tactics

Cross-Posted from WTOP By Michelle Basch WASHINGTON — The stories of people dissatisfied with the tactics of the D.C. police were at the center of a hearing at Howard University Wednesday night. “The ACLU and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee have documented vast racial disparities in the arrest rates in D.C.,” said D.C. Councilmember Tommy [...] . . . → Read More: Washington DC Residents Decry Police Tactics


Artists Respond to Michael Brown’s Murder and the Ferguson Rebellions

During dire times, humans seem to have a natural inclination toward the arts as a mechanism to relieve the pressure of feelings otherwise incommutable. Whether we’re referring to the practices of the ancients to perform dance and song for their gods in exchange for blessings, or the sorrow songs passionately sung by [...] . . . → Read More: Artists Respond to Michael Brown’s Murder and the Ferguson Rebellions


Protests Against Climate Change in Washington, DC

climate change protest

On September 21, 2014 over 300,000 people swarmed Manhattan in mass protest against global climate change. With indigenous peoples and people of color leading the charge , the largest protest against climate change in history took place in New York City. On September 23, Rising Tide DC (RTDC), the local chapter of the [...] . . . → Read More: Protests Against Climate Change in Washington, DC