We Will Not Be Displaced: A Photo Essay

Posted on September 12, 2019 | Patrick Gregoire, ONE DC

Every few weeks, the Weissberg Foundation features a story from one of our Reframing <Washington> Empowerment Fund grantee partners to shine a light on their critical work. Learn more about these powerful organizations by visiting their websites.

ONE DC exercises political strength to create and preserve racial and economic equity in Shaw and the District. Through a shared leadership model involving community members; tenant organizing; popular education; and its Black Workers Center, ONE DC works to transform the nation’s capital into a place where low income, poor, and immigrant communities are organized, educated, and trained to take action to create and preserve social and economic equity and achieve the people’s vision to develop grassroots leadership that will build a movement for positive systematic change.

ONE DC’s Right to Housing campaign supports long-time DC residents struggling against displacement and to find and maintain safe and affordable housing. We organize with tenants to resist landlord’s and developer’s displacement tactics; to convert tenant buildings into cooperatives; or win resident’s right to return. Through direct action, political education, and a slew of other organizing strategies, we work to ensure that housing remains truly affordable and seek to minimize citywide efforts to privatize and demolish much-needed subsidized and; public housing. Our city-wide People’s Platform puts forward a platform to create truly affordable housing and end the displacement of long-time residents in an increasingly inequitable city. This pictorial tells the story of some of the experiences our members discussed during the Right to Housing Mini-Assembly.

    Right to Housing members participate in an interactive map of experiences with displacement in DC:

    “She couldn’t ever afford to buy her home.”

    “My grandmother lives in Northeast. They’re watching their neighborhood change. They get cold calls of people wanting to buy their home.”

    Displacement by force is one way long-time DC residents have lost their homes:

    “I became a victim of domestic violence. And then I actually lost my housing voucher since they said I had too much money in my account.”

    “My mom and I kept falling into the cracks. I went straight from being a ward of the state to case closed homeless at 17.”

    “We want you to think big. We want you to think about institutions.”

    Participants share their experiences of landlord neglect in DC within breakout groups:

    “The whole soap dish was black from mold. Then they hired inexperienced workers who mishandled it.”

    Some people felt they couldn’t be secure in housing unless they could afford to buy a house:

    “The system is responsible and they keep doing it to us. They wouldn’t do this if it was white people.”

    “We want to take our anger and our issues to DCHA, DCRA and Mayor Bowser. We need to study and reflect before we can assess and attack.”

    Nae came to the Right to Housing Mini-Assembly to fight for justice, just like her idol Ida B. Wells.

    Next up for ONE DC’s Right to Housing Committee is the Freedom School, a popular education event where we’ll take an in-depth look at two of the issues raised by participants in the mini-assembly: Displacement by Force and Landlord Neglect. All of this work will lead up to our city-wide People’s Assembly in the late fall. To get involved, email Patrick at pgregoire@onedconline.org or call 202-232-2915.

    Patrick Gregoire has been organizing with ONE DC as the Right to Housing organizer since 2018. He first joined ONE DC working alongside members on the People’s Platform campaign, planning and coordinating popular education events on worker cooperatives, radical approaches to debt, Juneteenth, and Black August. Currently, Patrick heads the Right to Housing Committee where he and his team are planning a displacement focused Freedom School and conducting outreach to long-time, low-income DC residents of color to join the ONE DC Right to Housing Committee and People’s Platform. Patrick holds an MS in Peacebuilding in Global Affairs from The New York University, where he wrote his thesis on contemplative practices and how they can be used to inform, orient and support cross-cultural peacemaking endeavors. Patrick grew up traveling and spends his free time being physically active and learning about the various DC scenes.

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