Introducing Our New Executive Director: Elizabeth Falcon

We are extremely pleased to announce that Ms. Elizabeth Falcon will be the next Executive Director of DC Jobs with Justice.   For over a decade, Ms. Falcon has been a passionate advocate for social change in Washington, DC  and across the Deep South, with a proven track record of running effective campaigns and maintaining strong coalitions. She is an experienced coalition leader who believes in the power of bringing people and organizations together. Throughout her career, she has led community partners to build consensus on strategic direction, developing effective campaigns such as the Housing For All Campaign and Save Our Safety Net.  Under her leadership at Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), the Housing for All campaign became a well-recognized force, with over 4,000 individual supporters and hundreds of participating organizations, winning over $300 million in affordable housing investments. As a result, she is a trusted partner with advocates, labor, and diverse communities across the District. We are thrilled to have Ms.Falcon join our team as the Executive Director. Her campaign planning skills, strong local relationships, and dedication to developing affected DC residents to lead campaigns will be critical as our organization moves into the future. Ms. Falcon officially starts at DC JWJ on August 15, 2016. Our current Executive Director, Nikki Lewis, will step down on August 31,...

10 Days Until DC Jobs With Justice Day

Today marks the 10 day countdown to our first-ever DC Jobs With Justice Day!  I’ve been with DC JWJ for three years, and that’s been long enough to see the broad and indispensable role we play in the struggle for a more just Washington, DC.  Our coalition has a duty to protect all workers: when unorganized day laborers faced thieving contractors and perilous job sites, we partnered with Foundry United Methodist to organize and nurture a grassroots organization that today stands as the independent, member-led Trabajadores Unidos de Washington, DC. Our coalition seizes the moment: when politicians scuttled our effort to hold Walmart and big box retailers accountable to DC residents, we learned, we pivoted, and we led an effort to win paid sick days for all workers AND a higher minimum wage. Most important, our coalition builds long-term relationships for long-term victories: after years and years of fighting wage theft, we – with our partners and supporters – built enough power to pass the strongest protections against wage theft in the country. And you better believe we’ll be there for 15 more years, making sure our government and employers follow those rules.  I’m proud to work alongside residents, union members, people of faith, and students for a vision of DC that puts people before profits. Help us celebrate and accomplish that vision today by supporting our work with a donation on DC Jobs With Justice Day. Your support will help DC Jobs with Justice lead our campaigns, coalition building, worker organizing, and training this year! Thank you for your solidarity, Ari Schwartz Lead Organizer, DC JWJ  ...

Meet our summer organizing Interns!

Yanely Perez is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University. She is majoring in Government and Psychology with a minor in German. She is originally from Covadonga, Guanajuato, Mexico but she moved with her family in 2000 to Oklahoma. Throughout her school career and in her personal time she has helped with issues pertaining directly to the homeless population and animal rights. Because her family has a long history of immigrant workers she has found a passion advocating for workers rights. What she has to say about her decision to join DCJWJ: “I feel like I have so much to learn about some of the serious issues affecting DC and I believe DC JWJ will help me not only become more informed but also channel that information into action. The staff at DCJWJ is great and their work is really creating change. I can’t wait to get started!”   Marisha Wickremsinhe hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, the twelfth largest city in the country. She is a rising senior at Georgetown University, studying International Health. Her interest in organizing grew out of a commitment to the public education system in Washington – after the Spring 2013 school closings slated to occur in the District, several schools were able to advocate that they remain open. Organizing efforts on the part of students, parents, teachers, and neighborhoods proved effective, but the influence of distinct racial and socioeconomic lines was glaring. In that Fall of 2013, Marisha worked as a DC JwJ Intern, and was blessed to attend the National JwJ Organizing Training in October. It was INCREDIBLE. Marisha became invested in organizing as a...

DC Jobs with Justice at the “Ban the Box” Hearing!

Councilmember Tommy Wells, chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, held a hearing at the Wilson Building on new legislation to “Ban the Box.”  The bill would prevent employers from asking job candidates about their criminal history on their applications.  The hearing gave the public a chance to testify about the wording on the proposed “Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014” (1). During the 4 hour hearing, almost 40 people gave testimony about the legislation.  The stacked line-up included many public witnesses, as well as advocates from many community organization speaking in support of the bill (2).  Among those who presented were the Reentry Network for Returning Citizens,  DC Employment Justice Center (EJC), Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC), Bread for City, and our very own Executive Director, Nikki Lewis! As Councilmember Wells explained, DC is estimated to have 60,000 residents with criminal histories and approximately 8,000 returning citizens annually.  With the current background check for employment and housing applications, finding a stable job and place to live is nearly impossible for these formerly incarcerated individuals, as many of the public witnesses conveyed in their testimony.  As a result, residents and family members of those that have had previous contact with the criminal justice system are unfairly forced to suffer unequal discrimination.  With our broken system not providing the opportunity for employment and housing, many end up back in jail. Perhaps because of the strong public support for the bill, Wells expressed that he plans to make sure the bill passes as one of the most comprehensive pieces of ban the box legislation in the nation.  Significantly, however, many testimonies applauded...

Meet DC Jobs with Justice New Organizer Dyana Forester!

Dyana Forester a DC native joined the staff of DC Jobs with Justice in September to work on our Walmart: Respect DC campaign. rnrnShe began her career as an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union organizing Walmart workers. From there she moved on to work as an organizer at Teaching for Change, where she supported parents at DC Public Schools in leading campaigns for quality and equitable education for their children. Most recently, Dyana was Lead Organizer at ONE DC, where she organizing unemployed residents around demanding access to jobs and funding for job training programs. rnrnDyana brings deep knowledge of the DC political process and considerable campaign strategy experience. She is also a proud mother of two beautiful girls, Briana(14) and Dylan-Marie...

DC JwJ Welcomes new Executive Director

rnDC Jobs with Justice is proud to announce that Nikki Daruwala will be joining our staff as our new Executive Director!rnrnNikki will be coming to DC JwJ from American Rights at Work, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain collectively. At ARAW she directed the Socially Responsible Business Program, a program she founded six years ago. In this capacity, Nikki engaged with responsible employers, investment professionals, and academic scholars who support ethical corporate labor practices and protect workers’ rights. rnrnPrior to joining American Rights at Work, she established, led, and managed the advocacy programs and strategies at Calvert Investments, including shareholder engagements on a variety of corporate responsibility issues. Previously, she was employed by the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), where she contributed to and led national advocacy campaigns to help workers gain union representation and bargaining rights. Nikki is a graduate of Ithaca College and holds an MS in industrial and labor relations from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a founding member of the Child Labor Coalition, a long-time Girl Scouts leader, and currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the Board of Green America. rnrnWe are excited by the experience and vision Nikki brings to DC JwJ. Though Nikki will not officially start with us until February, you can meet her at our Winter Cabaret on Dec. 10th from 8pm to 11:30pm at St. Stephen’s Church (1525 Newton St NW) in Washington,...