The UPDATE | February 10


Our Reflections On Black History Month

Black history doesn’t begin with slavery. Black liberation didn’t start with the Civil Rights Movement. Our fight for racial equity has grown from roots that stretch across time and geography. As we continue to embody the spirit of resistance cultivated by abolitionists, activists, and advocates, we encourage you to go deeper in your exploration of ancestors who led us to where we are today.

In Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo, Zora Neale Hurston interviewed Kossula Oluale, one of the last survivors of the last ship–the Clotilda–to bring enslaved people to the United States. Although it was written in 1931, Kossula’s story wasn’t published until Deborah Plant, a professor of African-American studies and literature, discovered it in 2018. Barracoon represents three generations of Black History.

Another survivor of the Clotilda, 73-year-old Matilda McCrear, walked 17 miles to the county courthouse in Mobile, Alabama, to demand reparations for being taken from her home. A Yoruba woman, Matilda was captured at age two with her mother and sisters and brought to Alabama. Her request was denied, but her determination is not forgotten. Matilda’s great-granddaughters marched for voting rights in Selma.

These and other powerful stories are part of One Thousand Years of Slavery, a new Smithsonian Channel documentary series produced by Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance. Further exploration of the legacies of slavery and the way it’s shaped our lives today are found in Pulitzer Prize winning historian Nikole Hannah Jones’ book The 1619 Project, which includes essays, poems, and fiction.

Sengbe Pieh, who led the Amistad uprising, knew that Black lives matter. So did Sam Sharpe, a Jamaican preacher who inspired his fellow enslaved people to stand up for themselves. As we learn from Black history, as we live Black history, and as we create Black history, we learn from and honor those who came before us and gain strength to continue the struggle.

DC Council Votes to Raise Compensation for Early Educators

Early educators in the District of Columbia will receive a much-deserved pay boost of $10,000-$14,000 by September 30 after a unanimous DC Council vote Tuesday, February 1. This landmark vote was based on the January recommendations of the DC Council’s Early Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force and has started the journey toward permanent fair compensation for child care teachers, who are primarily Black and brown women. This vote for equitable compensation is an important step toward closing racial economic equity gaps in the District.



Three DC Action Coalitions come together for a Community Conversation with Deputy Mayor For Education Paul Kihn


More than 80 supporters from three of DC Action’s coalitions met with Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn to discuss what investments the District must make in order to ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic that includes children and families, especially those who have been hardest hit. Under 3 DC, the DC Out-of-School Time Coalition, and the Youth Economic Justice and Housing Coalition spoke with Deputy Mayor Kihn on January 27 to share recommendations to strengthen early childhood education, the out-of-school time sector, and youth homelessness supports.


Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Performance Oversight Hearings to Keep District Government Accountable

We’re into the fifth week of the DC Council’s performance oversight hearings, which give residents the chance to make their voices heard about what is and isn’t working in the District. Upcoming hearings related to DC Action’s work include:

Monday, February 14 | Committee on Labor and Workforce Development: Department of Employment Services

To testify or learn more about the importance of workforce development for youth, contact Rachel White at

Thursday, February 17 | Committee on Human Services: Child and Family Services Agency

To testify or learn more about the importance of home visiting programs, contact Nisa Hussain at

Wednesday, February 23 | Committee on Health: Department of Health

To testify or learn more about the importance of home visiting programs, contact Nisa Hussain at

Thursday, February 24 | Committee on Human Services: Department of Human Services

To testify or learn more about family and youth homelessness, contact Rachel White at

To testify or learn more about the importance of SNAP, contact Hannah Francis at

Thursday, February 24 | Committee on Human Services: Interagency Council on Homelessness

To testify or learn more about family and youth homelessness, contact Rachel White at

For a full list of the performance oversight hearings, please see the Council’s schedule here.

DC Action in the News

Kimberly Perry and Tazra Mitchell: Mayor Bowser has warned about an eviction crisis. It’s up to her to act., DC Line, 2.9.22

Taking action to shift the narrative of youth and crime in DC | AFRO American Newspapers, 2.5.22

DC Students Voice Demands for More Mental Health Services - The Washington Informer, 2.2.22

DC daycare workers to receive $10,000 checks | Washington Examiner, 2.1.22

DC government will send $10,000 checks to the city's day-care workers - The Washington Post, 2.1.22

DC lawmakers pass early child care workers bill | WTOP News, 2.1.22

DC Child Care Workers To Get $10,000 Payments From Government, dcist, 2.2.22

Early Childhood Educators Get a Raise - Washington City Paper, 2.2.22

DC activists push for more funding for rental assistance programs as inflation rises | WJLA, 1.27.22


Maid by Stephanie Land chronicles the author’s experience as a single mom experiencing homelessess and relying on public assistance all while working overtime doing low-wage but high-pressure house cleaning jobs.


ABC’s mini-series Women of the Movement is based on the true story of Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and her pursuit of justice after her son was tortured and murdered by a group of white men.


Youth Today’s podcast How homeless youth services adapted to COVID explores the variety of strategies that organizations serving unhoused youth developed during the pandemic to meet their needs, and how this innovation has changed the way they operate altogether.