A Spotlight on Rufaro Jenkins, Leader with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)
Rufaro Jenkins is a native Washingtonian with a passion for her community.
Ms. Jenkins found WIN in 2008 when she learned that the city would be closing her apartment complex, Parkway Overlook, and that all 266 families would have to move out. A friend told her, “if there would be any organization that would fight for the right to return and affordability with us, it would be WIN”.
Jenkins became deeply involved in the campaign and at her first action she witnessed her neighbors and other DC residents standing up and demanding action. This experience made her feel, “like we had a voice in the city,” and pushed her to fight harder.
Again, she saw the power of collective action when, while struggling to get a meeting with Council Member Barry, a team of WIN leaders showed up to a meeting at Bearny Elementary school on MLK Ave in Southeast DC, all wearing blue WIN t-shirts, and demanded that Barry meet with WIN. Then Council Member Barry finally agreed to sit down with the group, leaving Ms. Jenkins in awe of how powerful every DC resident could be, by coming together consistently and persistently in pursuit of justice.
Over the years, Ms. Jenkins has led and spoken at multiple WIN actions, helped lead a tour of the property with a former Mayor, held a community vigil, led voter efforts, and organized countless tenant meetings to keep the redevelopment of Parkway Overlook a central issue in the city.
After nearly 10 years of involvement with WIN, Ms. Jenkins reflects on what keeps her coming back:
“The work is not about any one person, or one issue. All the struggles and the concerns of this city are the concerns of WIN. WIN helps residents come together from all eight wards to make a difference and to be the liaisons between residents and public officials so that they can work together and truly ensure that no one is left behind or pushed aside.”
By day, Ms. Jenkins works for the federal government. However, her work doesn’t stop there. Ms. Jenkins is still the President of the Parkway Overlook East and West Tenant Association, Founder and CEO of Heavenly Flava, a board member for Brighter Day Enrichment Academy and Manpower DC, and a co-founding member of New Life Ministries.