Economic Justice

WASHINGTON, DC — DC’s early childhood owners and operators are saying they are worried about their businesses surviving in a sector stretched beyond its limits. A new survey, taken nine months after pandemic health and safety restrictions closures led to sharp enrollment drops with only limited government relief, reveals a sector teetering on the brink of collapse. 

Two dozen young people across the District can start their new school year knowing they’re making a difference to their communities as Census Youth Ambassadors. DC Action for Children created a Youth Census Ambassador Internship to foster knowledge and appreciation for data among young people. We invited Mikva Challenge DC and The Black Swan Academy to partner with us and offer paid internships to their youth program participants.

We can all agree that this year's budget season was like no other. To remind you, Mayor Bowser presented her budget on May 18th and the DC Council began their public hearings later that week to respond, assess, weigh in, seek public input, debate, modify and finalize the city’s moral document that will guide spending for the next year, during one of the most challenging times in history. The final budget was completed in late July, signed by Mayor Bowser and sent to Capitol Hill for its required 30-day review period

Washington, DC (August 6)—DC Action for Children is partnering with Black Swan Academy and Mikva Challenge DC during August to sponsor census internships for District youth to conduct text-banking and outreach in their communities. Like numerous other localities across the country, the District of Columbia faces the prospect of having a severe undercount of its residents with a delayed, and now shortened, census season. An accurate, complete census is vital for the District’s children, youth, and local democracy. Census data determines the distribution of $6 billion in federal funding to the District every year, including $400 million for children in areas such as healthcare, WIC, child care, and public schools.

Jarred Bowman is a Policy Analyst with DC Action providing research and advocacy to help build political power for children and families in the District.

On Tuesday, the DC Council took the first vote on the FY 2021 budget. In many ways, it was a step in the right direction, but when we stop to consider how much ground children and families, and the educators and workers who care for them, have lost as a result of the pandemic, we must consider this vote as a step forward, not the end point on the road to a fair, equitable, and just recovery.

With the District on the eve of our first budget vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for us to step back and reflect on the disparate impacts the virus is having--not just on our health--but also on families’ economic security. As with most crises, without conscious action it’s likely that the families harmed the most will be the same ones who have already been marginalized, including families of color and those with members who are undocumented, making it more important than ever that the Council pass a racially just budget.

At a time when tens of thousands of Washingtonians are rising up against racist police violence, Chairman Mendelson is allowing an increase to the Metropolitan Police Department budget. With thousands of DC school children needing mental health support now more than ever; more than 6,500 children and families at risk of losing their child care; over 1,600 DC residents facing chronic homelessness, and many more crises facing District residents, Chairman Mendelson put forward a budget that leaves too many behind. And despite 83 percent of local voters calling on DC Council to raise revenue by taxing those with the greatest ability to pay rather than underfunding services, Chairman Mendelson has instead proposed a regressive gas tax that will disproportionately burden lower-income folks who struggle to make ends meet while failing to raise tax rates for DC’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

Today, July 1, 2020, marks a major milestone for parents and workers in the District of Columbia!

DC is now the first ‘state’ and the fifth city in the country to pay workers a $15 per hour minimum wage. And, just the sixth jurisdiction to guarantee workers paid family and medical leave.

Last night, we co-hosted a a virtual town hall with the Fair Budget Coalition and The Black Swan Academy to unpack the history of racial discrimination and it’s negative affects on Black and brown communities in DC, and explored what a vision for a racially just budget would look like for children and youth and their families. We were joined by experts and allies from the Consumer Health Foundation, Under 3 DC, as well as by youth organizers of the DC Girls Coalition, and MLOV.