We are writing to share that Día Bùi, who served as the Washington Peace Center’s co-director since August 2016, has moved on to pursue new endeavors at the intersection of social justice and the arts in NYC. While at WPC, Dia brought a personal commitment to integrating social justice activism with the arts. Dia also helped uplift the stories of local organizers through the Critical Conversations program that she launched, and led our online communications, including livestreaming from actions. We are grateful to Día for her contributions, and we wish her the best.

Over a year ago, the Washington Peace Center committed to embodying our values by transitioning to a co-director organizational leadership model. We believe that shared leadership structures can serve local organizing and movement-building that is equitable and centers marginalized identities. While we still hold this to be true, the Board and staff agree that now is a time to pause and reflect on our experiences with the co-director model and our role in shaping politics moving forward. With so much needed in terms of time, energy, and resources to support and sustain the efforts of local activists and organizers on the frontlines of resistance, we want to make sure that our foundation – providing education, resources, and a space to connect for those working toward progressive change – is strong while we grow to meet new needs.

Leaders and allies in the community have been ceaselessly fighting oppressive actions, policies, and structures since long before the 2016 elections, but the sense of urgency among many has increased in recent months. The Peace Center has stepped up in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and we all know there is more to come. The last few months have tested our leadership model and our capacity, showing us that partnership and shared leadership are more vital than ever, as we face the divisive, racist, and violent tactics that define the current political climate. As we move ahead with our programming, we look forward to processing lessons learned and creating a leadership structure that supports emergent needs and priorities.

Over the coming weeks and months, we are excited to continue our core programming. We also look forward to partnering with more of you to build and respond in the new ways that are needed. Our current work includes:

  • Holding the new Resistance Trainers Network series
  • Our annual Activist Awards celebrating the resistance and brilliance of local activists will be held on May 17.
  • Continuing our leadership role in convening the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, fighting back against the Muslim Ban 2.0, being involved in expanding Sanctuary work, and building power to fight Islamophobia and other forms of state racism and violence.
  • Convening a forum in June on the intersection of race equity, disability justice, policing and imagining alternatives to institutionalization.

To ensure we are able to continue our core programming while supporting new partnerships and actions, we have hired an Interim Program Manager. We will also find new ways to lift up the leadership of our Office Manager, Jessie Sheffield. We thank Darakshan for stepping up to as Interim Executive Director while we restructure the organization based on what is sustainable for staff and strategic in the movement.

The Board is deeply grateful to Darakshan, Día, and Jessie. We appreciate every call they’ve taken, every extra hour they spent in meetings, and their consistent presence in the streets. We are thankful that all of our staff have been dedicated to prioritizing the needs of directly impacted communities in the DMV area. We are excited to continue work with the community, and responding in this moment to the challenges the movement faces.

P.S – If you haven’t bought tickets to our Activist Awards, buy them now to celebrate local resistance!