ONE DC (formerly Manna CDC) was founded in 1997 in the midst of neighborhood change. From early on, ONE DC's approach to community development addressed structural causes of poverty and injustice, an orientation that stemmed from deep analysis of race, power, and the economic, political, and social forces at work in Shaw and the District. As a result, ONE DC’s organizing work centers on popular education, community organizing, and alternative economic development projects.
In its history, ONE DC has distinguished itself as one of a few organizations in Washington, DC that moves beyond service provision to build sustainable community capacity and leadership so that low-income people of color can speak for themselves. ONE DC promotes leadership that does not tell others what to do but helps them take charge to build their abilities and skills.
Finally, ONE DC recognizes that leadership cannot exist without the support and power of the whole community. Central to ONE DC’s leadership style is the identification and dismantling of systemic influences such as racism, classism, and sexism that manifest both individually and institutionally.
ONE DC's progressive organizing values are heavily influenced by the principles and achievements of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as well as other groups and people-led movements for justice and human rights that have occurred throughout the world.
- Claire Cook - Administrative Organizer
- Dominic Moulden - Resource Organizer
- Jennifer Bryant - Right to Income/Black Workers Center Organizer
- Marybeth Onyeukwu - Right to Housing/People's Platform Organizer
- Bunny Jackson - Accounting
Shared Leadership Team. 2015;
- Jessica Gordon Nembhard
- Pat Penny
- Allison Basile
- Rosemary Nduibuizu
- Dewayne Brown
- Charles Turner
- Tim Kumfer
- Gwen Johnson
Unemployment and Tenant Organizing Town Hall
In July 2020 the Claudia Jones School for Political Education hosted an Unemployment and Tenant Organizing Town Hall for residents in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area in the form of an online Zoom Webinar. Seven panelists who work in the local area, as well as one panelist from a national labor organization, were invited.
The panelists included: Cheryl Brunson of the Brookland Manor and Brentwood Village Tenants Association (D.C.’s largest remaining affordable housing complexes), Rosemary Ndubuizu and Shakeara Mingo of ONE DC, Zillah Wesley of Poor People’s Campaign D.C., Jon Liss of New Virginia Majority, Brad Crowder of the Communist Party USA Labor Commission, and Will Merrifield, a candidate running for D.C. Council who has worked closely with tenant associations around the area advocating for universal housing, education, and employment opportunities.
Organizers with the Claudia Jones School say the aim of the event was to facilitate a community-led dialogue between organizers in the area and to put unemployed people and tenants in contact with one another to strategize about ways to advocate for themselves as a collective.
The Claudia Jones School is currently contemplating ways to enhance dialogue between participants and panelists in an online format such as a webinar, seeking to raise the voices of everyone in the discussion while maintaining safety and technological feasibility. The intention is to create a consistent meeting place for poor and working-class people in the community so that they can organize and mobilize in the face of untenable material conditions. The School aims to replicate similar strategies that the Communist Party USA used to create the successful Unemployed Councils (UC) during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
As Jaime Cruz (who emceed the event and is a founding member of the Claudia Jones School) mentioned in the introduction to the town hall: “In moments of joblessness in the past, working people have coordinated the fightback against employers and forced the government to provide the necessary relief that working people needed…. It is this generation’s turn to pick up the mantle and build a mass movement of unemployed councils that will address the economic needs of our multi-racial working class in all areas of the country—inner urban, suburban, town and rural.”