Statement by Aparna R. IN FAVOR of the resolution:
My name’s Aparna, I’m a tenant organizer with Stomp Out Slumlords, and I am writing to urge everyone to vote in favor of them for priority campaign. I came to DSA largely because of SOS. In 2019, I was dealing with pretty bad conditions in my group house for years until it eventually got foreclosed because our landlord wasn’t paying his mortgage. We were all forced to scramble for housing. After that, I wanted to do some tenant organizing, and I saw DSA as the biggest local actor in the tenant organizing space. After doing anti-eviction canvasses with them, I started doing long-term organizing with tenants at Marbury Plaza in Ward 8, around a rent strike to protest inhumane living conditions. In the time we’ve been organizing with tenants there, we’ve seen concrete wins that include the formal creation of a new tenants’ association, a lawsuit from the Office of the Attorney General against the building, and the firing of the old management company. Tenants are starting to see their eviction cases go to court, a tactic to make the case in front of a judge for back rent forgiveness and mandated repairs at the building. And Marbury is just one of dozens of buildings that SOS is organizing with to build up a regional tenant movement. A large part of SOS’ success is its status as a priority campaign. Funds that we receive as part of the priority campaign have helped with live translation, with printing flyers and purchasing supplies for banners for protests, and more. SOS is one of the most successful tenant organizing campaigns in the country because of the organizers dedicating years of time towards a longterm vision for tenants in the DMV area. In the past, Stomp Out Slumlords has collaborated with the Medicare for All working group on COVID vaccine outreach, the electoral working group on Initiative 82, and the political education working group on a walking tour. I see future opportunities next year for SOS to be a space of collaboration with other working groups like WePower, Defund, and more as our chapter tries to build more cross-working group collaboration. We talk about wanting priority campaigns to organize across our full region, collaborate with other working groups, win material things for the working class, organize towards a longterm vision of socialis, and build DSA’s base across race, gender and age. SOS is embodies all of those qualities.
Statement by Caleb W. IN FAVOR of the resolution:
I strongly urge all members to vote YES to designate SOS as a priority campaign. I feel that SOS is our chapter’s sterling example of organizing the DMV community to achieve wins for working people while forming long-term organizations to carry on the struggle. Channeling resources, energy, and members towards its continued success is crucial.