September 2000 Newsletter
DC VOTE MOVES TO EXPANDED NEW OFFICE SPACE IN D.C. NEIGHBORHOOD
We have moved our offices from the downtown end of M Street to the grassroots haven of U Street. DC Vote is now located at 1500 U Street, N.W. 20009. Occupying both upstairs offices and a storefront on the corner of 15th and U, our new space allows better community access, more volunteer drop-in opportunities, and more room for administrative offices from which staff will manage our growing national and local campaign efforts. Please come visit us during regular business hours after September 26th.
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HITS THE GROUND SPRINTING
The DC Vote Board of Directors is extremely pleased to announce that, after an extensive and thorough search, it has hired a new executive director. Amy W. Slemmer joined the staff as the new executive director at the end of July and has gotten off to an impressive start. She brings a wealth of professional experience, a law degree, and a passionate commitment to full voting rights for the residents of the District of Columbia to her new position. Prior to joining DC Vote, Amy ran Slemmer & Associates Grassroots Advocacy, which specialized in assisting national nonprofit organizations create successful policy campaigns.
Amy has also spent a significant amount of time working on local issues, including improving the D.C. public schools and expanding access to health care and support services for people affected by HIV and AIDS. She was a founding member of Project Northstar, a homeless children’s tutorial project and has served on a number of boards of directors including a term as the President of the Board of Directors for the Episcopal Caring Response to AIDS. Amy’s work history and personal commitments have taken her to all eight wards of the city.
In the few weeks since she began working as DC Vote’s executive director, Amy has represented us at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, met with funders, held a volunteer training for brand new volunteers, and overseen our office relocation. She has taken on these challenges with tremendous energy and enthusiasm and assures us that she is just getting started. We can’t wait to see what she is able to accomplish in the coming months and years!
A reception for DC Vote in honor of Amy’s arrival will be held in October. Please watch your mail for invitations.
"TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" MESSAGE TAKEN TO BOTH PARTY CONVENTIONS
We hope you caught at least a snippet of news coverage showing us distributing information and "Taxation Without Representation" t-shirts in Philadelphia or launching a major visibility campaign in Los Angeles. Calling our campaign a bipartisan effort, DC Vote Executive Director, Amy Slemmer said, "This is not an issue for one particular political party. It is a human rights issue that crosses all political and ideological boundaries. We are either for democracy or against it. Our current system of congressional representation for all but 600,000 federal tax-paying citizens is just wrong."
DC Vote was featured on several national news broadcasts during the convention in L.A. We were also joined by a dedicated volunteer force of more than thirty people who handed out literature, collected petition signatures, and held a press conference with the members of the D.C. delegation. Our core volunteer group was from Mayor Williams’s high school alma mater in Los Angeles, Loyola. More than fifteen recent high school graduates joined our efforts, and at the end of the convention week were so interested in DC Vote’s work that they pledged to carry on our work at their college campuses this fall.
SUMMER CANVASS A HIT IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS
One of our newest programmatic efforts has become the blockbuster of the summer. Michael Brown, a political organizer with vast grassroots experience, has initiated DC Vote’s local canvass campaign. In successive nights, Michael knocked on twice as many doors as expected, spoke to nearly three times as many voters, and collected more than double the number of contributions predicted. Because of the success of Michael’s pilot effort, DC Vote plans to continue the canvass through the fall and into early winter. He believes that a great deal of his success is due to his uniform (a "Taxation without Representation" t-shirt and baseball hat; both items available on our web page) and the fact that many D.C. residents are simply waiting to be asked to do something specific about our lack of voting rights. Said Michael, "I have never received so many checks enthusiastically written while the contributor was asking what else he or she could do to help!" We thank and congratulate Michael and look forward to his continued success.
We are pleased to welcome the United States Student Association as a new endorsing organization of DC Vote. The USSA is planning to include DC Vote’s talking points in its next Capital Hill Lobby Day.
We are also pleased to welcome the Communications Workers of America, which passed a resolution endorsing full voting representation during its annual convention in Los Angeles.
VOLUNTEER PROFILE: DENNIS JACKSON
Dennis Jackson came to DC Vote in July. Dennis is
a native Washingtonian and a trained physician’s assistant.
Spending his time taking care of the administrative
needs of our nonprofit agency may not seem like an
obvious fit, but watching Dennis create order out
of chaos makes it clear that his professional training
and his volunteer calling have much in common. Dennis
was instrumental in getting materials organized and
shipped off to the two political conventions. He oversaw
the organizing and packing of our entire office for
our move, and he held down the fort at a critical
time. Amy Slemmer, Executive Director says, "If it
were not for Dennis, we would not have been able to
do all that we did at the conventions. I went to Los
Angeles, other staff members headed out of town for
much-needed vacations, and there was a huge amount
of work to be done. Dennis fielded questions, managed
the office, and coordinated the move while I was 3,000
miles away. His dedication and professionalism have
been a tremendous help to me during my first few weeks
on the job."