Latest Updates from Empower DC

An Open Letter from Aristotle Theresa Jr.

Wednesday, September 28th I will be arguing before the DC Court of Appeals representing the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association. This is an important case for DC and cities being gentrified nationwide. At issue is whether the Zoning Commission must consider the hardships associated with dislocating public housing residents when weighing the “benefits” of redeveloping a site.

DC is unique in that it has provisions in its citywide Comprehensive Plan that stipulate avoiding dislocation ac the site in question : Barry Farm. The Zoning Commission has held Federal Law precludes their authority on the matter despite the Comprehensive Plan provision.


Winning will lead to remand and increased leverage in negotiating terms for almost 250 black families. lt will also set precedent in DC and be influential in other jurisdictions whenever citizens develop Comprehensive Plan policies addressing dislocation surrounding the demolition of public housing. We want development in phases so no one has to leave the site. Let alone leave it for the ten plus years developers propose. Many residents are multi-generational DC residents. This is their community. Continue reading An Open Letter from Aristotle Theresa Jr.

Hearing at Appeals Court!

Barry Farm Tenants & Allies Association VS DC Zoning Commission

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rally and Vigil at 8:00 AM (hearing starts at 9)

Location:
DC Court of Appeals
430 E St, NW

Bring ID to enter the court building.

We are planning to stand with BFTAA (Barry Farms Tenants and Allies) on September 28th at the DC Court of Appeals. BFTAA is appealing the DC Zoning Commission’s Stage 1 PUD (Planned Unit Development) approval.  The Zoning Commission failed to acknowledge the displacement of Barry Farms residents as a “hardship” in their zoning approval of the redevelopment. The DC Office of Planning’s Comprehensive Plan calls for the redevelopment to avoid “dislocation or hardship” as if 1 doesn’t equal the other. We MUST show up to convey the message to the judge and to the public that displacement IS hardship!  BFTAA needs a STRONG presence with allies at this hearing.

Rally with Barry Farm residents before we enter the Appeals Court to deliver oral arguments in our appeal of the Zoning decision which approved the Barry Farm redevelopment.  Help us send the message that dislocation IS hardship, and DCHA is violating the law by not protecting the needs of residents.

Environmental Justice Brunch This Saturday!

What does Environmental Justice mean in the Nation’s Capitol?

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Join Empower DC for a  district-wide Environmental Justice Brunch. Connect with residents who live on the front line of environmental pollution and development in the historic communities near Buzzard Point, Southwest Washington, DC . Work together to discuss a year-long timeline that empowers and protects communities.

Saturday September 17, 2016
Christ United Methodist Church
900 4th St. SW Washington, DC 20024
10:00 am to 12:00pm

All are welcome. Seating is limited. Please RSVP with Kari Fulton at Kari@EmpowerDC.org or 202-234-9119 ext. 104

You can also RSVP on Facebook here.  

See you on Saturday!

Environmental Justice in Buzzard Point

Tune in to Taking Action with Empower DC every Tuesday at 1pm. Tuesday’s show gave an update on what’s happening with Environmental Justice in Buzzard Point.The DC Department of Health JUST released the Community Health and Safety Study for the neighborhood. Find out the Alarming Results and how to push back! Special guests, will be ANC Commissioner, Rhonda Hamilton and Stephen Lester of the Center for Health and Environmental Justice. Check out the show below:

DCHA Board of Commissioners Meeting

DCHA Board of Commissioners Meeting

Wednesday, September 14th
12:30 PM
DC Housing Authority
1133 North Capitol St, NE

Bring your ID to enter the DCHA building

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Stand with the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association (BFTAA) to oppose the passage of a resolution which would move forward the displacement of residents and demolition of the property – despite DCHA’s failure to address the housing needs of residents, their rights and concerns about the planned redevelopment. 

You can also send an email to the members of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
This body has been unaccountable for far too long, signing off on resolutions that threaten the health, safety and housing of the people who call public housing home.  Use the addresses below and the sample email to tell the Board of Commissioners to vote NO on the resolution and to meet with BFTAA to discuss alternatives to our standard, displace and demolish method of redevelopment.  

Commissioners to send it to:
Aquarious Van Ghasri – AVGhasri@dchousing.org
Bill Slover – sloverdc@gmail.com
Brian Kenner – brian.kenner@dc.gov
Frank Lancaster – flancast@dchousing.org
Jose Ortiz Gaud – jortiz@dchousing.org
Kenneth D. Council – KCouncil@dchousing.org
Shelore Fisher – SFisher@dchousing.org
Terri Thompson – tathompson@huhosp.org
Ken Grossinger – KenGrossinger@democracypartners.com
Clarence Mobley – clarencemobley@gmail.com
Nakeisha Neal Jones – nakeishan@publicallies.org

Moral Day of Justice at DC City Council

This morning we were proud to stand with area clergy to demand a#MoralAgenda at the DC city council. Two of our leaders had the chance to speak – Ms Paulette Mathews of Barry Farm on her community’s struggle against displacement, and Ms Rhonda Hamilton of Syphax on her community’s struggle for environmental justice. There are opportunities to stand in solidarity with both of their communities this month! Please check the calendar for dates and times.

Ms. Paulette Mathews :

Ms. Rhonda Hamilton:




Ward 6 Community Meeting

Malcolm holding his sonThere will be a community meeting this Thursday, September 8th at 6:30pm in the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs conference room on the 2nd Floor at 1100 4th Street, SW.This is an important meeting due to the huge impact the construction of the DC United Soccer Stadium and redevelopment of Buzzard Point will have on us as a community, including the quality of our lives for the next few years. It is important that we voice any concerns that we have about this process including:

  • Excavation and clean-up of toxic soil and dust on construction grounds.
  • Truck Traffic
  • Strategies for reducing exposure to chemicals and contaminated dust.
  • Addressing health concerns, especially for children, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Parts of the stadium construction site are heavily contaminated and have to be cleaned up before the stadium can be built. There will be hazardous materials and chemicals removed from the site. Some of these chemicals that are in the ground are at high levels and can be extremely dangerous for our bodies, especially for children and elderly if they are inhaled in the air through the dust that will be removed from the stadium site.

At the meeting we will receive the results of the Community Health and Safety Study, also known as the CHASS, produced by the District Department of Health. Please speak with your neighbors to see if at least one person can come to represent your block, building or complex at this meeting. It is important that we attend to let representatives from the city and D.C. United know that we want them to do everything that they can, and need to do, to protect our health during this process.

Sincerely,
Rhonda Hamilton
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, ANC6D06

Please contact Empower DC Environmental Justice Organizer Kari Fulton for more information: kari@empowerdc.org or 202-234-9119 ext. 104

UPDATE: DC Housing Authority Tables The Vote!

We want to thank everyone who came out to support Barry Farm residents! Please continue to support our Public Housing Campaign, which is lead by an amazing 4 year veteran of Empower DC , Schyla Pondexter-Moore.  Let’s continue to fight displacement in our city, to stand up for justice, to build our power and hold government officials accountable!

Video provided courtesy of Empower DC member Brendan Orsinger

URGENT! Action for Barry Farm!

IMG_20160419_150408This is a call to action.  We need everyone who is available to come to the DC Housing Authority (1133 North Capitol St, NE) tomorrow, Thursday August 18th at 11:30AM to stand in solidarity with Barry Farm residents. 

You can also help by sending an email to the members of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.  This body has been unaccountable for far too long, signing off on resolutions that threaten the health, safety and housing of the people who call public housing home.

Please use the addresses and sample email below to tell the Board of Commissioners to vote NO on the resolution affecting Barry Farm that they are considering tomorrow at the last-minute “emergency” meeting.” 

Sample letter:
I urge the Commissioners to vote NO on resolution 16-14 to authorize pre-development financing for Barry Farm redevelopment. The Board should take no further action on the Barry Farm redevelopment until a firm residents’ rights agreement is in place.  I urge the Commissioners not to rubber stamp these deals that serve to displace residents and give away valuable public assets to private developers.  Moreover, DCHA should not conduct business during last-minute “emergency” sessions when the impacted residents have not received notification. 

Commissioners to send it to:
Aquarious Van Ghasri – AVGhasri@dchousing.org
Bill Slover – sloverdc@gmail.com
Brian Kenner – brian.kenner@dc.gov
Frank Lancaster – flancast@dchousing.org
Jose Ortiz Gaud – jortiz@dchousing.org
Kenneth D. Council – KCouncil@dchousing.org
Shelore Fisher – SFisher@dchousing.org
Terri Thompson – tathompson@huhosp.org
Ken Grossinger – KenGrossinger@democracypartners.com
Clarence Mobley – clarencemobley@gmail.com
Nakeisha Neal Jones – nakeishan@publicallies.org 

The residents of Barry Farm have been fighting diligently for years to make sure their rights are protected throughout the pending “redevelopment” of their public housing community.

The DC Housing Authority, on the other hand, continues to operate in an underhanded, unaccountable way – leaving the community in disrepair, spreading misinformation, and violating the rights of residents.

Yesterday we were informed that the DC Housing Authority has called an emergency Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting to vote on a resolution that impacts Barry Farm residents.  Typically the BOC does not meet at all in August. Now, they are holding a last-minute meeting, without notice to residents, on something that is critical to their future.

The leaders of the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association (BFTAA) working with Empower DC want to show DCHA that there are people like you throughout the city monitoring their behavior, willing to hold them to account.

Please let Schyla Pondexter-Moore, Empower DC’s Public Housing Organizer, know if you will be joining us.  You can reach her at (202) 234-9119 x 101 or housing@empowerdc.org.  Bring your ID to enter the DCHA building.

We appreciate your support! 

Parisa Signature
Executive Director