Today’s blog is the first in a series of stories previewing this Saturday’s 5th Annual Citywide Tenant Town Hall. The town hall will be held from 1-4 pm at the National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle NW.
“Nobody should live in the terrible conditions we were living in,” says DC resident Randy Green. “And if you’re living in such conditions, you should do something about it.”
Randy’s appeal – shared just before a step-by-step explanation of how renters in the District of Columbia can fix housing code violations in their apartment buildings – is one message within a series of short, playful and informative “Tenant Rights 101” videos set for screening at the 5th Annual Citywide Tenant Town Hall.
Created through collaboration between LEDC and local community-based filmmakers, the bilingual videos aim to educate renters in the District about their legal rights as tenants through the personal experiences of four DC residents who worked with their neighbors to fight for decent, affordable housing in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Logan Circle.
Told through the lens of their six-year struggle as members of the Norwood Tenants Association to fight poor housing conditions in their building and become owners of the 1417 N St NW Cooperative, the videos demonstrate how renters informed about their rights can successfully work together to improve their quality of life.
“Visual storytelling is a very powerful way of getting a message across, mostly because it resonates emotionally with an audience in a way that other mediums cannot,” says Erin Finicane, a filmmaker who worked on the project. “We all remember a good story with charismatic characters and an inspiring plot. In a well done video, we can relate to those characters–see the similarities between them and ourselves–and as a result become more invested in the cause they are working towards.”
Although focusing in part on the sobering realities of rising rents and abysmal housing conditions, the stories depict how people of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds can come together around art, music, and a shared belief in the dignity of decent, affordable housing.
Click the links above to watch the videos on YouTube!