Mayor’s One City Summit: Is Gray listening?

one_city_table_0.jpgrnOn Saturday, DC Jobs with Justice, along with allies including Respect DC, Empower DC, the Fair Budget Coalition, and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, attended the Mayor’s “One City Summit” at the Convention Center. The summit was attended by close to 2,000 people from across DC. rnrnWe were split up into tables around one of the main halls at the Convention Center where we discussed what the priorities of our “One City” should be. Unfortunately, there was very little room to add the priorities of the residents in attendance. The moderators of the meeting really wanted everyone to discuss and vote on a predetermined list of options that the Mayor had brought. When Empower DC showed up all at once wearing their t-shirts, with literature to distribute, they were even briefly denied access to the room by security. Watch a video of their experience here. rnrnDespite these limitations, many of our priorities were able to come across. Affordable housing, a main priority of the Fair Budget Coalition’s Make One City Possible campaign, CNHED’s Housing for All campaign, and Empower’s campaign against displacement, was also the number one priority for a majority of summit attendees and made the final list as the top priority coming out of the summit. rnrnRespect DC and the fight to hold Walmart accountable, was popular at the summit as well. The topic came up at many tables, and when the summit organizers put up a trivia questions asking how many Walmart’s were planned for the District, loud booing could be heard throughout the room. rnrnThe question coming out of the summit is, will the Mayor listen to the people? The number one “crowd sourced” idea before the summit, voted on online, was Fair Budget Coalition’s Make One City Possible plan, the need for more affordable housing was the number one priority for residents attending the summit, and Walmart got loud boos. Despite this, we know that it will take much more than participating in this one summit to get Mayor Gray and the DC Council back on the side of residents, and out of the pocket of big business and developers. rnrnBy Mike Wilson

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