Statement from the Board
After three years of work with the Washington Peace Center, Darakshan Raja will be transitioning out effective November 10, 2017.
Darakshan has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization during her time here both as a Program Manager, Co-Director, and as Interim Executive Director. This has included her leadership in implementing new programming over the years and tackling rising Islamophobia in the aftermath of Trump’s election; increasing our fundraising in order to have the resources necessary for our important work; overseeing an overhaul of the organization’s finances; securing a legal advisor for the organization; overseeing and organizing a security audit; dealing with external attacks to the organization due to compliance and legal issues; and planning the previous two Activist Awards, including the one this ever past May to celebrate the resilience of DC organizing.
We would like to thank Darakshan for what she accomplished during her time here and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
Over the next few months the board of WPC will be engaging in strategic planning discussions to determine what is the best way moving forward for the organization, including with respect to staff structure and leadership, in order to continue our mission and vision in this political moment. We look forward to talking with our supporters, donors, and DC communities for input on the role WPC should play in strengthening the impact of the peace and justice movements.
Statement from Darakshan
Im thankful for the opportunity to learn about the ways small movement organizations work in the District. Im grateful to my fellow staff for holding down so much work, especially J Sheffield who went above and beyond to help me keep the Peace Center moving forward. Im thankful to Makda, our interim program manager who transitioned from the board to staff and helped put together the DC Activism Roundtable this past September, helped me put together the DC Trainers Network in the Spring, and an incredible Activist Awards. I was blessed to find a workplace where staff solidarity and trust sustained us through an extremely challenging political moment. Too often it is the people we meet who sustain us in the work and not just the cause. Im confident that we will all continue to work together in movement spaces. In addition, Im thankful for being able to build local and national relationships with incredible leaders who work from a place of love, transparency, care, and accountability. Im grateful to the numerous donors, our community partners, and the broader community that have supported the Peace Center throughout and truly believes in supporting a vision for bringing organizers across movements to build our power.
We all have our calling and I’m excited to move forward and focus more on organizing against structural Islamophobia through the DC Justice For Muslims Coalition and other work that centers MASA communities and look forward to staying in touch with all of you. I'll be around until November 10th and am looking forward to touching base with everyone. I also look forward to seeing the Peace Center grow and continue its mission of being a resource to local activists.
The Washington Peace Center has been blessed to have J for the past two years. They consistently went above and beyond in keeping WPC together. I am grateful to J for serving as the backbone of the organization. Paying rent, ensuring staff have their checks and healthcare paid, and consistently engaging in the emotional labor to value, check-in, and care for their colleagues has been instrumental in keeping us going in a very difficult political moment. In the past year, J managed operations for the organization and helped us implement key recommendations from a financial assessment and security audit. This work is difficult and having incredible colleagues makes all the difference. During WPC programming, they have been incorporating bodywork into our events, which many people have appreciated. Their passion, dedication, commitment and how they show up in movement work through a healing justice and anti-racism lens is inspiring. I look forward to supporting J as they create their own practice and continue their journey.
Statement From J
I am grateful for having the opportunity to learn, grow, and relationship-build with staff over the last two years at WPC. I am particularly grateful for the powerful vision, presence, force, and leadership of Darakshan, for whom I have the utmost respect, and am excited to continue building with. I am grateful for our collective transparency, care, respect, and honesty that will carry us as we leave the Peace Center. I am excited and ready to further the work of integrating bodywork, as a means of self and community care, into organizing and healing spaces; work that I started first at Peace Center trainings and affiliated events this year. I am excited and honored to better prioritize my energy into holding space for bodies, minds, and spirits dealing with structural and interpersonal oppression and bodily trauma and erasure. The time I spend in organizing, activist, and nonprofit spaces further convinces me every day of the need for affirmation and self and community healing that is approached from an accountable place of love. I am transitioning out of the Peace Center by the end of 2017, and over the next year, will be working and learning at Freed Bodyworks, while also developing my home and community sliding scale practice. For more details about my bodywork, please view my bio here. I am grateful to all who have supported my vision and commitments, especially Darakshan, and look forward to our paths ahead.