Advocacy Opportunities in Washington D.C.
Here is a list of some advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C. that are working to end gender-based violence and sexual assault, end homelessness, and make our city and society more just and equitable while supporting the LGBTQ+ community and other vulnerable groups.
Ayuda: Ayuda's mission is to protect the rights of low-income immigrants in the DC metropolitan area. We are the region's leading provider of multilingual legal and social services for low-income immigrants in the areas of immigration, human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault. (202) 387-4848
Bread for the City: Bread for the City provides vulnerable residents of Washington, DC with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center: Casa Ruby is the only Bilingual Multicultural LGBT Organization providing life saving services and programs to the most vulnerable in the LGBT community. A large number of our clients have incomes of less than $15,000.00 per year. Our Mission is to create success life stories among Transgender, Gender Queer and Gender Non-conforming Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people. Our vision is to create a world where Transgender, Gender Queer, and Gender Non-conforming people pursue their dreams and achieve success in their lives without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence due to their sexual orientation and or Gender Identity/Gender Expression. Casa Ruby offers a Drop-Inn Safe Community Center, it's the only Bilingual Multicultural LGBT safe space in Washington, DC open 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday from 12-8pm, since Casa Ruby's goal is to support the most vulnerable in our LGBT community when they need it most and a career and employment services program targeting LGBT clients facing challenges because of their sexual orientation and or gender identity/expression.
Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS): Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) mobilizes our community in Washington, DC, to end public sexual harassment and assault though innovative programming and hard-hitting advocacy. Their programs include: Preventing Sexual Harassment & Assault on Metro, Safe Bars, a project of CASS and Defend Yourself, which trains and empowers staff at alcohol-serving establishments to recognize and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault among staff and patrons, the My Streets, Too Blog, which provides a platform for personal stories of gender-based public sexual harassment and assault in DC, and advocating for policy change, which includes being a founding member of the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign. In 2017 Collective Action for Safe Spaces partnered with ReThink, and the DC Rape Crisis Center to create their Rethink Masculinity program, which is a men’s consciousness building group in which people identifying as men collectively learn how social constructs of masculinity harm themselves and the people around them, and work to construct healthier masculinities. In June 2017, CASS launched the Safe Bar Collective, a new and improved version of their Safe Bars program. In which CASS will be continuing to train bars and restaurants to build safe environments with an expanded curriculum that talks more about racism and hate violence; we're partnering with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC (ROC-DC) to equip trans people of color with front of the house restaurant job skills; CASS is asking their bars to create job placements for their newly trained workers, in spaces where we know they'll be safe and supported; and because we know from our experience that people need ongoing support in order to be successful, we're working with ROC to ensure that participants have everything they need, from SmarTrip cards to hygiene kits, to *stay* employed.
Courtney's House: Courtney's House was founded in 2008 by Tina Frundt. A survivor of domestic sex trafficking herself, Tina is relentless in her fight to protect children from sexual exploitation and the devastation that comes from it. Courtney's House is dedicated to the recovery and healing of underage victims of domestic sex trafficking.
District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH): The mission of the District Alliance for Safe Housing, Inc. (DASH) is to ensure access to safe and sustainable refuge for victims of domestic violence through the development and management of safe housing and related services, while increasing the capacity of other community-based organizations to expand housing for victims throughout the District of Columbia. (202) 462-3274
D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV): DCCADV is the federally-recognized statewide coalition of domestic violence programs, organizations and individuals organized to ensure the elimination of domestic violence in the District of Columbia.
D.C. Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC): DCRCC is the designated State Sexual Assault Coalition for the District of Columbia providing survivor-centered advocacy through therapeutic services, training and technical assistance, community education, public policy initiatives as well as volunteer opportunities. More specifically:
- Individual & group counseling (English and Spanish)
- A 24-hour crisis hotline (202-333-RAPE)
- Community education & outreach
- Training & technical assistance
- Public policy & legislative Initiatives
- Volunteer opportunities
- Undergraduate and graduate internship opportunities
DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP): The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide high-quality, free legal services to low-income District of Columbia residents in family law cases. Our volunteer lawyers provide pro bono legal representation to domestic violence survivors. +1 (202) 885-5542
Defend Yourself: Defend Yourself works to empower people — especially women and others targeted for abuse and assault — to end violence and create a world where they can be fully themselves. Our students learn skills to help them prevent, heal from, and end violence and abuse. We offer more freedom, more confidence, more safety, and more fun! Defend Yourself works with people of all ages, genders, and walks of life. We have, for example, held classes and workshops at hundreds of D.C.-area schools, faith groups, workplaces, community organizations, and more.
HIPS: HIPS believes that those engaged in sex work, sex trade, and drug use should be able to live healthy, self-determined, and self-sufficient lives free from stigma, violence, criminalization or oppression. We will achieve this through engaging sex workers, drug users and our communities in challenging structural barriers to health, safety, and prosperity.
24-Hour HOTLINE: HIPS offers a 24/7 hotline to provide emotional support, schedule supplies deliveries, and get connected to health and supportive services. +1 (800) 676-4477
House of Ruth: Every day at House of Ruth, more than 600 women and children work hard to learn the skills to live independently so they can eliminate homelessness and abuse from their lives. House of Ruth provides housing and services for 63 families and 109 single women; supportive services to 11 families housed in apartments throughout the city; developmental day care to 76 children and supportive services for their parents; and free counseling for more than 400 women a year who are dealing with or recovering from domestic violence. +1 (202) 667-7001
Latin American Youth Center (LAYC): We create safe spaces to work alongside youth through a variety of services. We provide bilingual programs and opportunities in academics, arts and recreation, job readiness, safe housing, and health and wellness to help youth make a successful transition to young adulthood. We also advocate for policies and laws that create opportunities for youth and their families in our region. We serve low-income youth, ages 11-24, of all backgrounds. This includes low-income youth, teen parents, homeless youth, youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems, and those facing mental health, substance abuse, or complex family issues. See our demographics.
Mil Mujeres: Mil Mujeres is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2007 to provide legal services and community education and empowerment to low-income hispanic immigrants and their families in the United States.
My Sister's Place, Inc. (MSP): My Sister's Place, Inc. (MSP) is the largest and oldest non-profit agency exclusively serving battered women and their children in the District of Columbia. Annually, thousands of victims of domestic violence find sanctuary from abuse in our residential programs and supportive services. Currently our programs consist of emergency shelter, transitional housing, the region's only transitional housing for immigrant victims of violence, the Emergency Services Center, and our 24-hour crisis hotline. Combined with our community outreach and education initiatives, My Sister's Place is committed to providing safe refuge for families in crisis. +1 (202) 529-5261
Project Peer: Women with disabilities, especially women with developmental disabilities and mental health issues, are among the populations most vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence. Studies highlight the increased risk, frequency and duration of abuse they experience at the hands of intimate partners, family members and/or caregivers, including transportation providers. With funding from the US Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women, the DC Coalition in collaboration with 6 local service providers, described at participating organizations: Anchor Mental Health, District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV), The DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC), Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, Project ACTION! and Ramona’s Way, have developed various tools to help identify and support these survivors in DC.
Rethink: At ReThink, we’re committed to changing the culture that makes sexual violence possible in the first place. Our approach is to identify and organize leaders in communities to repeatedly and consistently deliver messages to young men and boys that undercut the dominant narrative that feeds that culture.
Safe Shores: The DC Children’s Advocacy Center is a direct service nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and working directly with child victims of sexual and physical abuse in the District of Columbia.
Stop Street Harassment: Stop Street Harassment (SSH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting and ending gender-based street harassment worldwide. It started as a blog in 2008 and became incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2012. We believe that street harassment impedes gender equality and must be taken seriously. Because street harassment is often an invisible problem (especially to people in power) and it is dismissed as being a “minor annoyance,” a “joke,” or the fault of the harassed person, our primarily focus right now is simply to document the problem and demonstrate why it’s a human rights violation that must be addressed. (Reston, VA)
SurvJustice: SurvJustice is a D.C.-based national not-for-profit organization that increases the prospect of justice for all survivors through effective legal assistance that enforces victim rights and holds both perpetrators and enablers of sexual violence accountable in campus, criminal and civil systems. Founded in 2014 by Laura L. Dunn, it is still the only national organization that provides legal assistance to survivors in campus hearings across the country. SurvJustice also provides policy advocacy and institutional trainings services to communities that seek to better prevent and address campus sexual violence. By working on these fronts, SurvJustice decreases the prevalence of campus sexual violence through the United States.
Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (SAFE): SAFE, Inc. provides crisis intervention and advocacy services to over 5,000 domestic violence victims each year in the DC Metro Area. Our mission is to ensure the safety and self-determination of domestic violence survivors in Washington, DC through emergency services, court advocacy and system reform. +1 (202) 879-0720
The William Kellibrew Foundation: The William Kellibrew Foundation is an advocate, bridge and community driven partner dedicated to breaking the cycles of violence and poverty. The WKF harnesses and provides resources to both victims and similarly focused organizations through prevention, intervention, education and outreach. By sharing the stories of survivors we give voice to victims, raise community awareness and empower people working to rebuild their lives, families and communities.
The Women's Center: The mission of The Women's Center is to improve significantly the psychological, career, financial and legal well being of women, men, couples and families, regardless of their ability to pay. Our clinical staff includes over 65 therapists and career counselors who provide more than 37,000 hours of counseling each year. For more than 38 years, we have grown along with the community we serve. +1 (202) 293-4580
Werk for Peace: WERK for Peace is a queer-based grassroots movement that uses dance to promote peace. The queer community has always been at the forefront of promoting change, and from Stonewall to Pulse, dance is integral to our movement, and to our healing. We take to the streets around the world to claim space and assert: We are here. And we will dance. We take to the bars and clubs and we assert: We are here. We will dance. But let's get real. We don't just dance. We WERK.
Whitman-Walker Health: Our mission is to be the highest quality, culturally competent community health center serving greater Washington’s diverse urban community, including individuals who face barriers to accessing care, and with a special expertise in caring for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people and people living with HIV.