Stand UP DC #2: Homeless and Gentrification

Hello again from Washington DC! The past two days have been hugely impactful and so much fun! Two of the highlights of the past few days have been our time at the National Coalition for the Homeless and our gentrification walking tour with ONE DC (Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC). With ONE DC, the teens challenged themselves while discussing the power of community organizing, and how we can work towards development that improves infrastructure and access to goods in a community, while simultaneously benefitting the people who have lived there for decades.
At the National Coalition for the Homeless, we were honored to listen to the stories and advice of two more individuals who have experienced homelessness in their lives, Candy and Steve. There is no way to leave that experience and not feel moved, grateful, and inspired.
In addition to those highlights, we have done so much: we have navigated through the DC metro, seen the sites in Old Town Alexandria, taken a boat tour of the monuments at night, eaten and discussed the Civil Rights Movement in DC at Ben’s Chili Bowl, organized donations at the Capitol Area Food Bank, and kayaked along the Potomac River. We were even able to spend time at the BBYO International Headquarters creating and developing programs that they could possibly implement when they get home!
Here are a few more quotes from some of our amazing participants:
Annie Hirsch (Pittsburgh, PA) “This trip has help me to see a whole new perspective on homelessness from the people who are actually experiencing it. I don’t think that I would fully understand what it’s like to be homeless without the experiences and stories I’ve heard.”
Jacob Weil (Boston, MA) “It’s not enough to know something abstractly. A person is not motivated to act by abstraction. A person does things because it touched them.”
Steph Reifman (Upper Saddle River, NJ) “So far Stand Up DC has opened my eyes to understanding the issue of homelessness and changed my perspective on what I can do to make a difference. I feel empowered and capable of taking on anything to impact change.”
We have done so much in less than a week and we are very excited for the rest of the program! Tonight, we will be celebrating Shabbat at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue!
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