Our Stories

Over the past 20 years, DC Jobs With Justice has brought together diverse communities to fight together for economic justice.

These are our stories.

Community History

We’re collecting a community history of DC Jobs With Justice — and you are invited to be part of it. Upload photos, video, or send us a message with your experience with DC Jobs with Justice and we’ll include it here.

AVODAH fellow

Serena Oberstein

My first job out of college was as the Community Outreach Organizer with DC Jobs With Justice. With Mackenzie as my teacher and the support of labor greats like Chris Garlock, Roger Newell and Jos Williams I learned how to fight for workers rights aka human rights. I carry the lessons with me today, almost 20 years later, now as an ED of another human rights organization. I’ll forever be grateful for the teachers, friends, sisters and brothers that I gained during my time at JWJ.

Sarah David Heydemann

I interned for DC JwJ in the summer of 2007 and traveled to the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta in a van with other amazing DC folks, where I got to witness the birth of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. In DC, I worked on campaigns with CWA and others to make sure Verizon equitably built out their DC network. An amazing experience all around.

Former DC JWJ Executive Director and Board Member

Nikki M.G. Cole

I’m proud of many things we’ve accomplished together at DC JWJ — from protections for immigrants to increases in the city-wide minimum wage to wage theft protection policies and procedures. The thing I am proudest of though — the establishment and ongoing necessary work of the DC Just Pay Coalition for accountable implementation of workers rights.

Executive Assistant to the President at UFCW Local 400 and former DC JwJ Organizer

Mike Wilson

May 2012, as Mayor Vincent Gray and his allies attempt to force Walmart on the District, DC JwJ and community allies and residents from across the city held a massive parade to make sure everyone know Gray was in bed with Walmart, marching from the proposed Walmart that is now at 1st and H NW to Walmart’s federal lobbying headquarters in Chinatown.

Creative Content Producer, JWJ National

MacKenzie River Foy

My memories of being an intern with DC JWJ speak most clearly to my time canvassing with Sequnely Gray. Sequnely is the reason I arrived at JWJ National. She is home to so much oral history about housing battles in DC and Barry Farms. She showed me how histories matter, and how our stories drive us home. Thank you Sequnely!

Former DC JWJ Solidarity Organizer

Lillian Walker Shelton

I loved my time at DC Jobs with Justice. I was able to work on many campaigns including the 99% Spring, Caring Across Generations, and Respect DC. But working on the Verizon Campaign on 2011–2012 was the most fulfilling and fun campaign. I still love to watch the video that we made “Alms for the Rich.” Check it out on Youtube.

Leo Rassieur

Interning at DC JWJ is what got me interested in labor activism and advocacy for socioeconomic equity. I learned so much about the power of grassroots organizing, people power, and community. The work of the Just Pay Coalition has been so impactful in shedding light on the rampant wage theft that happens in DC and how to put an end to it.

DC JWJ member

Kim Fellner

I love that DCJWJ combines a big-picture worldview with vibrant local organizing. It provides us in the DMV with the support and community to fight for rent control, fair wages, racial justice–to have an effective presence on the issues that matter. I know few organizations that can stretch such modest resources to yield such significant results.

Katharine Landfield

DCJWJ leads the way on worker justice. They never fail to inspire, impress, force change, and defend. I look to them as a beacon.

Judy Conti

In the 20+ years that I’ve been part of the workers’ rights community, I can say with certainty that DC JWJ has been front and center in every single campaign whether it be legislative efforts with the DC Council, efforts aimed at the Mayor and executive agencies, or grassroots campaigns aimed to improve working conditions at particular employers. “I’ll Be There” is the perfect mantra for DC JWJ because it is ALWAYS there when needed. I’m proud to be a former board member and am so grateful to JWJ for all the good work it’s done. DC is a better place to live and work because of DC JWJ.

Former Steering Committee Member

Jessica Champagne

As a volunteer, and for a time as the Jews United for Justice representative to the Steering Committee, I have learned so much with DC JwJ about how to build meaningful partnerships across difference to tackle the hard problems facing workers and communities of color in DC. The exuberance and costumes of the Verizon campaign team were a highlight!

Doni Crawford

I’ve worked with DC JWJ on a number of issues during my time at DCFPI but getting to deepen relationships with the team through our fight for excluded workers has been especially memorable. DC JWJ has lived out its values and always centers people with lived experiences in our campaign work, advocacy in front of Council, & direct actions.

Add Your DC JWJ Story

What actions and campaigns stand out to you in the fight for worker justice in DC? Use this form to share your memories and photos as part of our 20th anniversary year.

Stories will be added to the website on a rolling basis through October 2021.