Community Organizing

Empower DC believes that community organizing is the most effective way to uplift low-income communities in the District of Columbia. Community organizing builds the power of people directly impacted by an issue – such as the demolition of public housing or the closure of a school – to create positive, long-lasting change for their communities, their families, and themselves. Empower DC organizes with low- and moderate-income residents of DC. We are most engaged with Black communities living in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. These communities are often neglected by the city’s leadership, or targeted for change that will not benefit current residents. Our current community organizing campaigns are to save and improve public housing, to ensure all children have access to high quality neighborhood public schools, and to support the residents of Ivy City as they improve their neighborhood. For a great introduction to community organizing, watch veteran organizer Roger Newell lead one of Empower DC’s most popular Empowerment Circles, Community Organizing 101.


Empower DC’s community organizing is guided by these principles:
  • Work with groups of people who share a common problem
  • Develop leadership through training and providing leadership opportunities
  • Develop the self-confidence of leaders and potential leaders
  • Support groups to develop action plans and implement them
  • Use the media to inform the larger community about issues and to gain support
  • Use confrontation when necessary to force a recalcitrant target to negotiate or resolve an issue
  • Leaders, rather than staff, set the agenda for the organization and carry it out