Making the Shift to a More Sustainable Future

The following digital story, produced by Empower DC member Ernestine Ward, summarizes how she came to Empower DC, and why she believes its work is important. Ernestine is a somewhat new DC resident and, unlike many other transplants to the area, she intends to stay. According to Ernestine, “volunteering with Empower DC has not only helped me gain a sense of community, but has also helped me become aware of many of the city’s pressing issues.”

I believe the above digital story exemplifies the mission of the Grassroots Media Project, which has been, “to provide a space for media production and training to individual activists and community-based nonprofits in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Through the creation and distribution of news media, such as radio segments, short videos, public service announcements, digital stories, etc., GMP producers will educate and inform policy makers and the public at large about issues that matter to them. Our productions will be distributed on the Internet, public radio, public access television or any distribution outlet willing to work with us. We hope to provide an alternative to the mainstream media, which often overlooks or misrepresents issues and causes that matter most to low-income and working class residents of the District of Columbia.”

Unfortunately, Empower DC is no longer able to support that mission and this will be my last post for the Grassroots Media Project. Fortunately, Executive Director Parisa Norouzi has said she would like to have the content of the blog accessible as an archive, which you can find at the site

In the meantime, is still up and running. The content on that site will be produced by former Grassroots Media Project volunteers who want to continue to work towards the project’s former mission. We are no longer working for the Grassroots Media Project but are instead in the process of forming a new organization called Grassroots DC. Grassroots DC will continue to fulfill the media training niche to which Parisa Norouzi referred. We will also continue to cover not only the work of Empower DC but as much of the considerable work being done by DC’s entire progressive community as we can manage.

Beyond our home online as, we don’t yet have a brick and mortar location. Producers continue to work collaboratively but from a variety of locations. With any luck, that will change soon and we’ll be able to resume training in person. In the meantime, you can still find our curriculum online and the alternative media that covers the issues that matter most to DC’s low-income and working-class residents at It’s not the end of the Grassroots Media Project but a shift to what I believe will be a more sustainable organization, Grassroots DC.

Parents Just Don’t Understand

DCPS student Quintess Bond has produced a digital story that anyone who has a child in school should see. I’ve posted it here along with her introduction below. Enjoy.


“I am a senior at School Without Walls Senior High in Washington, DC. S.W.W. happens to be recognized as the top public school in the area with a 100% graduation rate, 100% 4-year college acceptance rate, and 100% reading and math proficiency rate amongst it 500+ students. It is among three public high schools in the DC area that has won the National Blue Ribbon title, and is acknowledged as one of the top schools in the Nation.

With that being said, my story tells the experience as I arrive to this school. As I explained, my experience was not always the best because of the pressure I felt from my mom to be perfect, academically. This story is not to bash my mom for being a so-called ‘tiger mom,’ but to show the vital role my mom plays in my success. My parents, from the beginning, set a strong foundation for me in education and have high expectations for my brother and me; I am blessed to have parents that care.

Personally, I see parents’ lack of concern for their children’s education a problem. School Without Walls has strong parental involvement compared to that of other schools in the District. Academically, those schools with higher parental involvement tend to do better. So this is for parents who just don’t understand how much their concern can change their child’s life.”