Most people only know the District of Columbia as the area around the National Mall — a view shaped in large part by the national media, which often treats the District as the backdrop to national politics rather than a place where real people live and work. 

But DC is home to over 700,000 residents, a population larger than some states, and it boasts a budget of nearly $17 billion. Thanks to local organizing efforts, DC is also at the forefront of local political change, with a vibrant progressive movement that is making inroads into the political establishment. 

Like many places in America right now, the District is also up against serious challenges. Gentrification has already displaced many long-term Black residents, and housing costs continue to skyrocket. A report released in 2018 showed that white households in the District have a net worth nearly 81 times that of Black households — a gap that is only widening with the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19. The impact of growing racial and economic inequality can be seen and felt in nearly every facet of life. 

In this issue, we talk with some of the District’s most innovative progressive organizers about their fights to defund the police, win more power on the District Council, and make DC the nation’s 51st state. 

The District has a long and venerable history of local organizing that offers important lessons for how to push for change at the local level, take on powerful interests, and challenge an entrenched political establishment. Even without voting rights in Congress (yet), local organizing efforts — whether protests outside the White House or long-term campaigns — often spark important national conversations.  We hope these pieces will also spark conversation and offer valuable lessons for organizers seeking to create communities and build the power necessary to deliver change. 



Created with Sketch.

Related Articles

Javier Melgoza (not verified)August 14, 2020 - 00:16Ustedes están luchando por la misma causa que los habitantes de la Ciudad de México... Suerte!!! Magnífico trabajo Mateo...Los resultados no llegan pronto pero con perseverancia llegarán... Un abrazo desde México Tenochtitlan... Good luck for Washington DC citizens!!!!
August 14, 2020 - 00:16
Anonymous (not verified)August 19, 2020 - 22:48YOU DID NOT talk to the oldest political activist organization in D.C, the statehood green party why???
August 19, 2020 - 22:48