WIN Freedom School Fridays

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Access homework for the June 12th WIN Freedom School Friday here:

See the upcoming discussion topics and the evolving lists of readings, videos and resources here:

It takes organizing and struggle to bend the world more towards justice. Situations that expose inequality do not automatically lead to more just action and policy. We know that there are special interests that are acting now to take advantage of the current crisis. Some aim to reorganize the District in ways that will increase economic and racial inequality, exploit land, labor and resources, and increase private profit for themselves.  WIN, along with allies, seek to stand for the common good and equity.

In the spirit of Freedom Schools during the Civil Rights Movement, we propose WIN Freedom School Fridays, a deep public inquiry in the form of weekly one-hour sessions. Together we will imagine what is possible post-COVID-19. We will learn from the past to develop a bold agenda for the future of the District.

In order to do this, we will need to research and learn from leaders across all academic and practical spheres. Together we will read, write, listen, discuss, pray, reflect and discern. We seek to draw on lessons from faith traditions, democratic and organizing traditions, history (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and ideas and experiences from around the United States and abroad.

Depending on where there is interest and energy, some topics we might choose to engage in our public inquiry include: 

Responses to Crisis and Real Recovery: What does a real economic stimulus that helps the majority of regular people—not corporations and people who are already wealthy—look like? A study of success and failures of Reconstruction, the New Deal, the Federal CETA Program (out of which Mayor Barry’s summer jobs program was funded), the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and responses of other countries.

Good jobs: Related to “real economic stimulus” conversation, a study of the value of preserving public sector union jobs and resisting calls for privatization (which uses austerity as an excuse to break unions and turn our public services into low-wage, poor service, profit opportunities for large and multinational corporations). Examination of the need for unionization and organizing for the dignity of all labor whether in the formal economy, gig economy, or “side hustle” economy. 

Congregations and community-based institutions: How can institutions survive, but more importantly emerge stronger, after the crisis? Leaders share the best ideas, creativity and learning for how to be an institution that can keep community together, weather the financial challenges of this moment, and also thrive post-COVID-19. How can institutions see the crisis as an opportunity to become more in line with their deeper mission, deepen relationships, become more vital while leaving behind habits that are no longer serving the purpose of the institution?

Land and housing: Who will own the land and have an opportunity to live in the rebuilt District? Examination of topics such as the ways the 2008 recession sped up the pace of gentrification in D.C., and examine proposals that will help low-income and middle class homeowners and tenants stay in their homes, afford rent, mortgages, and utilities, and even create wealth in the process. 

Community-based small businesses: What does it mean to be a small business tied to community and place in the age of concentrated corporate wealth and profit in few hands? What are models of successful alliance with other community based institutions (congregations, schools, etc.) that work together to build strong and thriving communities? Conversation with small business owners in our institutions and “parishes.”

Confronting Racism and Building Racial Equity: WIN is a multi-racial organization that seeks to create a more equitable world and build accountable relationships among our member organizations and individual leaders. To build the world as it should be, we must confront racism in the world as it is—systemic/institutional and individual/interpersonal racism. That means confronting racism within the economics and politics of the District and the country. It also means confronting racism within our own institutions and within WIN itself.  We will also include explicit and specific reflection and learning about Whiteness, “White fragility”, and building solidarity across race. We will also infuse a racial justice lens into the learning about each topic.

Some additional topics could include:

Health and healing

Elections and voting rights

Greener economies that build community wealth, health, and good jobs

Education and access to the internet and information

What are you interested in learning? Send us your ideas! Email [email protected]