D.C. Council won’t consider ceasefire resolution, but Ward 1 Dems are making moves
The June 11 roundtable on the fight for a ceasefire, hosted by the Ward 1 D.C. Dems. | Jamal Rich / People's World

WASHINGTON—On Tuesday, June 11, the Ward 1 Committee of the D.C. Democratic Party hosted a public roundtable conversation, supported by the D.C. for Ceasefire Now Coalition and the Retirees for Accountability.

The event was attended by many community members from the Ward and the broader D.C. community, with a conversation led by Ward 1 D.C. Dems Chair, Dr. Rev. E. Gail Anderson-Holness; Ward 1 D.C. Dems Vice Chair, Dieter Lehmann Morales; Rev. Anthony Motely, Dante O’Hara and Emily S. of the D.C. for Ceasefire Now Coalition; and Mohammed Khader of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

The conversation was framed around how to move forward with the local ceasefire struggle, as no member of the D.C. Council has yet stepped forward to introduce and fight to pass a ceasefire resolution.

Anderson-Holness spoke of her experiences traveling to both Israel and Palestine, particularly visiting the Gaza Strip and having direct experience with both Israeli Jews and Christians and Palestinian Jews and Christians. Khader discussed the financial contributions that residents and businesses of D.C. make to the apartheid state of Israel, including the $15.6 million appropriated by Congress and trade and travel agreements the D.C. government has made with the State of Israel since the 1990s.

Invitations to the roundtable were sent out to D.C. council members beforehand, but none showed up. A few advisory neighborhood commissioners (ANCs) participated and spoke to the ANC letter sent to the D.C. Council in December 2023 demanding that the council introduce and swiftly pass a ceasefire resolution.

The Ward 1 Dems pledged to sign the letter at the conclusion of the meeting. Ward 1 representative of the State Board of Education (SBOE) Ben Williams was in attendance and spoke in support of a ceasefire resolution as well as recognizing the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Palestinian racism because of the war on Gaza.

Motley criticized the hypocrisy of the councilmembers, pointing to the marquee in front of the building stating “D.C. supports Ukraine” while no recognition has been made of the massacres occurring against the Palestinians in Gaza with U.S. bombs and taxpayer money.

Members of the D.C. community also spoke at the event, sharing ideas and strategies to move forward with the campaign to win a ceasefire resolution, including citizen-led ballot initiatives, targeted boycott and divestment efforts, engaging neighbors more directly on the question of Palestine, and developing a deeper social component in the struggle to get more community members involved.

One audience member announced they planned to challenge Ward 2 Democrat Brooke Pinto in the November election as an independent candidate.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the audience seemed prepared to do whatever it takes to win a ceasefire resolution in the D.C. Council before the members go on recess in mid-July. Those in the room promised to get more organized, show strength in numbers, and escalate their actions to get the resolution on the table.

The pastors on the panel also committed to a concept of “Ceasefire Sundays,” where they will bring the issues to their faith community and begin mobilizing their churches around Palestine. The Ward 1 Dems are also considering contributing a Palestine component to the D.C. Democratic Party policy platform in the future.

This group that gathered Tuesday evening plans to continue convening to build up its organizing efforts and finally win a ceasefire resolution.


Jamal Rich
Jamal Rich

Jamal Rich writes from Washington, D.C. where he is active with the Claudia Jones School for Political Education.