Washington Interfaith Network’s accomplishments in 2021 and 2020

St. Mark’s is proud to have supported the Washington Interfaith Network’s 2021 successes in Public Safety, Living Wage & Re-entry, Environmental Justice and Climate Change, Affordable Housing, increasing Black Ownership and Equity, and creating truly affordable housing on Reservation 13.

WIN’s accomplishments this year built on its work in 2020.

2021 St. Mark’s/WIN Overview

Throughout the year, in spite of the pandemic, St. Mark’s parishioners responded to WIN’s calls for support, time after time, and gave WIN the numbers it needs to have an impact:

    • Temple Courts Affordable Housing Groundbreaking on Zoom!


    • PEPCO Rate Increase Public Hearing: WIN turnout resulted in direct meetings w/PEPCO resulting in collaborations on higher wages; DC jobs pipeline & training


    • WIN December End-of-Year Meeting: 150 total – 10% St. Mark’s!


    • WIN @ St. Mark’s meeting – Celebrating the WIN inspired Epiphany Sermon Series: Hosted 13 folk from 5 congregations to learn about Public Housing; Public Safety; Green Housing Campaign; Pepco & Jobs; Reservation 13


    • Bringing Both Sides of the River Together at Reservation 13: 350 Online and in-person – 10% St. Mark’s + 4 speakers from St. Mark’s!


    • DMPED (Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development): Developer Proposals for Reservation 13
      • 500 Registered!
      • 350 Signed On!
      • 65 in City Webex – 5 asking questions
      • Washington Post Interview | WUSA story
    • St. Mark’s WIN Update
      • Internal September 21st event to update interested parishioners
      • 20 in attendance with five small group breakouts
    • WIN District-wide event
      • With Meetings at 4 locations across the city + ZOOM (First Rock Baptist Church in Ward 7 across from Benning Terrace; Representatives from 9 congregations Meeting in the RFK Parking Lot; a NOMA gathering & Ft. Reno in Ward 3); WIN leaders gathered to connect with each other and to learn about upcoming actions on Public Housing; creating Affordable Housing and Black Home Ownership opportunities; and Congregation-level opportunities for greening through retrofitting with BlocPower group.
    • Benning Terrace Public Housing Event with the new DC Housing Authority Director, Brenda Donald
      • St. Mark’s families were encouraged to participate
      • 140 people in-person + 50 on Facebook Streaming (includes St. Mark’s participation)
    • Building Black Equity through Home Ownership Policy Matters – Nov 16


  • Through our work in classes and on Research teams, parishioners learned how to build relational power and gained insight about the issues facing our neighbors:
    • Building Your Dream Team: Building people power in your organization through the skills of relational organizing
    • Get into the Driver’s Seat of Organizing: Public Lands & Housing Affordability
    • Race, Power, and Black Wealth: An educational session presented by Rev. Wm H. Lamar, Pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
    • Fighting Public Housing Displacement during Redevelopment (RAD) – Rental Assistance Demonstration – an alternative federal funding program for public housing
    • WIN Public Safety Teach-IN – A New Approach: Festival Center & members of WIN invite religious leaders in D.C. to join in conversation about the work ahead
    • Imagining a Just Green Future Workshop & WIN Environmental Action: WIN and members of the Sierra Club “Methane Gas: A Public Health Crisis Within a Climate Crisis

Actions in 2021/2020

WIN Electric Bus Tour – October 15, 2022

Visited public housing sites across the city and met with Charles Allen to highlight terrible conditions DC residents asked to live in.

WIN Board member and participation to the DC Black Homeownership Strike Force – October 3, 2022.
Voter Registration Drive – Eastern Market Metro Plaza
Vestry votes to join WIN and contribute dues for 2021

At its December 21, 2020 meeting, the St. Mark’s vestry passed a motion to contribute $3000 as 2021 membership dues to WIN.

The Vestry’s commitment recognizes and supports the many St. Mark’s parishioners who are ready to balance inward reflection with concrete action for social justice in the city. Over two years, our Realm email group has grown to 50 parishioners, driving great turnout and energy at WIN Zoom events in November and December. Membership is endorsed by the Outreach Board and the Rector and approved by the Finance Committee.

We are very excited to join with 42 other churches, mosques, synagogues and community organizations to address community issues and hold elected and corporate officials accountable in Washington, DC.

St. Mark’s stands up at WIN Action meeting (12/8/20)

Eighteen parishioners attended the December 8 WIN Action meeting (total 150+ attendees) to hear about WIN’s 2020 accomplishments and plans for 2021. St. Mark’s received a special shout-out for being one of the three top participants, along with Adas Israel Metropolitan AME. Fifteen hardy souls joined the St. Mark’s debrief immediately after.

Parishioner comments from the debrief:

Diverse group, involvement of lots of different churches, list of organizational affiliations, energy, discussion of power, success, meeting efficiency – well-organized and lots of information conveyed, focus and intensity, mentioning Pepco, the Mayor, other officials, MANY members from across the city (and good friendships among them), “turning the world upside down” the prayer at the end brought tears to my eyes, a yearning, Goal-driven, a plan for a new project (i.e., Leadership Development course in 2021), diversity of people from the city, success of organized power, so many different churches participate, the accomplishments were well explained, feels so good to be a part of this group.

2020. It’s been a year of awakening at St. Mark’s, as it has across DC and across the country. Through worship, study, and action in the streets, parishioners have deepened their awareness and their concern regarding systemic racism and other social justice issues and to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement. A growing number of us are working with the Washington Interfaith Network to turn our concerns into the concrete action so urgently needed.

WIN in DC. For 24 years, the Washington Interfaith Network has made a difference in DC. Just in 2020, it helped to get over $150 million for public housing, community-based safety, and Immigrant Justice Legal Services.

WIN accomplishes its goals by working from the ground up through one-on-one conversations in communities across the city through religious institutions, community organizations, and labor unions. This work is sustained by thousands of individuals across WIN member institutions and funds that support WIN staff and training for WIN members.

More on WIN’s 2021 and 2020 accomplishments.

Co-founder in 1996. St. Mark’s was a founding member of WIN in 1996, providing strong participation and funding. Since 2018, we’re again moving into a stronger and deeper relationship with WIN. Our participation has grown from six parishioners two years ago to 18 this spring to 44 after a Zoom meeting with WIN early in November. At that meeting, parishioners expressed strong interest in the affordable housing planned for Reservation 13. They are interested in ensuring good grocery store options, sustainable development with green space and river access, and accountability for the DC government and developers for promises made.


Public Safety / Violence Interrupters

  • Built a relationship w/Chief Contee
  • Researched major issues related to violence: What is happening – Where is it happening Why is it happening – Who are the people involved and Why are they involved? What needs to change? Seeking integrated solutions.
  • Seeking to make all of the Wards safer by multi-level solutions

Employment / Living Wage / Re-entry for Incarceration

  • PEPCO – Successfully worked to:
  • Increase employment of DC residents on Pepco contracts including people of color
  • Improve wages
  • Provide training programs
  • Include re-entry employment opportunities for those incarcerated in DC

Environmental Justice / Climate Change

  • Working to ensure ’greening’ funds in DC are equably distributed=Environmental Justice
  • Engage with the DC City council to take specific actions to achieve the DC Climate Action Goals adopted by the City Council
  • Partnered with Sierra Club to:
    • educate people on the role of methane in causing climate change
    • reduce methane emissions equitably by helping identify resources to reduce emissions in public housing and low-income neighborhoods and to create green jobs
    • collect signatures calling for legislation that requires that all newly constructed and substantially renovated DC government buildings be free of inefficient and unhealthy fossil fuels

Affordable Housing /Ownership

DC Housing Authority (DCHA) – Public Housing: Resident teams on 5 properties:

  • Established relationships with residents in Judiciary House; Langston Terrace; Benning Terrace, and Potomac Gardens
  • Support tenants organizing and help with Advocacy for repairs and appliance replacements
  • Researched Federally funded tool: RAD* – being used for Public Housing Restoration: Drafted a Document: “RAD Done Right: Recommendations to DCHA on the implementation of RAD and Section 18 projects
  • Met last week with new Executive Director of DCHA to share vision of how DCHA can better serve residents and to present the “RAD Done Right” recommendations

Benning Road Improvements: WIN shared RAD Research & Action story and DC Housing Director said yes to all

  • Build First
  • No Net Loss of Housing
  • Maintenance Now: Fix football field Lights, potholes in parking lot, open the Community Center, lead Abatement (paint) & mold

Black Equity Research on Housing & Home Ownership

  • Researched history (barriers), policy, financed and current opportunities
  • Seeking to engage institutions, organizations, and individuals to build new paths to increase home ownership

WIN Reservation 13 Development Priorities & ACHIEVEMENT!!

MANY St. Mark’s Parishioners were active participants working on Reservation 13: Public Lands-Affordable Housing Class; Developer Research Teams; Organizing the April 24th “Bridging the River” Action at Reservation 13; Attending the DMPED developers’ public presentation; Sending messages of concern to DMPED (Developer Proposals on the DMPED Website: https://dmped.dc.gov/page/hill-east-district-redevelopment)

  • Development plan where ⅓ of all units are priced for incomes 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), ⅓ are priced for incomes 60% of AMI, and ⅓ are priced at market rate.
  • Structure housing development to facilitate home ownership, with a particular focus on facilitating the building of Black equity and wealth.
  • Prioritize firms with Black and ethnic-minority ownership when awarding contracts in this development.
  • WIN worked to have these priorities reflected in the RFP released Nov. 2020!
  • WIN Power Analysis & Meet with Development Applicants > Kept pressure on DC to retain Key Priorities > WIN’s April 24th Action and Turn-out at the Public Presentation resulted in all of the Development Proposals having to resubmit to better meet the priorities won in the RFP!
  • Original contractor responses did not reach RFP goals. WIN pushed back on the city and contractors had the opportunity to resubmit. DC selected two contractors for Res 13 who agreed to 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, and included home ownership opportunities!!!


WIN summary of End-of-Year Campaign Successes (WIN’s 2020 Summary Report) included:

  • Affordable Housing: Short-term family housing opened in all 8 Wards | Old Hebrew Home & Temple Courts construction starts for affordable and deeply affordable housing | 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 model in Reservation 13 RFP
  • Voter Rights & Budget wins! Successful lobbying for ballots mailed to every voter | DC Budget: Immigrant Legal Services / Public Housing Repairs / Homelessness Services / Violence Interruptors / School-Based Mental Health & more!
  • Jobs & Fair Wages: PEPCO lobbying and hearing turnouts result in contractor wages raised / Pipeline to for 100-120 local union jobs created / from 2% to 25% of $600 million annual spending will go to Black-owned businesses

Diane Fujino, professor of Asian American studies at UC Santa Barbara and author of Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama:

My people’s liberation is integrally linked to your people’s liberation. I cannot be free if you’re not free. We need to think about how things impact the most vulnerable among us, right, and work out of those best interests.