One Common Unity (OCU) breaks cycles of violence and builds compassionate, healthy communities through the transformative power of music, arts and peace education.
One Common Unity’s (OCU) high-impact, holistic programming engages youth, families, and educators in the DC area to lead a shift towards peace through in-school and after-school programs, mental health services, citywide campaigns, teacher trainings, family engagement sessions, community concerts, and art showcases. From our award-winning Fly By Light prevention program to the Peace Together crisis intervention solution and mental health services, we offer a holistic approach to violence prevention rooted in artistic expression, nature immersion, and social-emotional literacy.
Get to know all our programs and services.
In 2000, following a string of school shootings in Washington, DC, a group of educators and artists came together to catalyze a community-wide cultural shift towards peace. Since then, we have impacted over 35,500 youth and their families through afterschool programs, nature retreats, community dialogues, and citywide campaigns. We have worked in 52 schools in the DC region, trained 12,000+ educators, produced five full-length musical albums and five documentaries, and hosted 85 concerts and community arts showcases.
One Common Unity is born!
Revel Youth Shine (RYS)
Children’s Defense Fund “Freedom Schools” Teacher Training Program
Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP)
A Nu View (Youth Filmmaking Program)
Fly By Light (FBL)
Fly By Light Documentary
Launched the Fly By Light National Training and certification program
Mental Health Expansion
The Melody Lingers On Documentary
Addressing Gun Violence
Peace-building requires skillful effort. We show up with our whole selves, honor our commitments, and communicate with honesty and transparency. We seek continuous improvement, address our mistakes, own our limitations, and take responsibility for our actions.
We honor the inherent creativity within each person. We believe that a diversity of perspectives and ways of working strengthens our collective potential. We welcome new ways of thinking and doing, push into areas of discomfort, and hold space for a convergence of ideas to ignite us.
We explicitly practice anti-racism and strive for transformative justice as we work to dismantle systems of oppression both internally at One Common Unity and externally in communities we serve. We believe in the continual process of unlearning and relearning, and centering the voices, experiences, and wisdom of people whose identities these systems of oppression have harmed, such as through white supremacy, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, and xenophobia. We channel the words of American civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hammer: "Nobody's free until everybody's free."
We believe healing is both an individual and a collective process. It may not look the same person-to-person or follow a linear path. We seek not to ostracize and punish but to create pathways for restorative and transformative justice through individual and community healing. We commit to practicing forgiveness, self-care, and honoring safe boundaries.
We lead with love, listen to learn, celebrate each other's strengths, and embrace our areas for growth. We invite and call each other in—warmly encouraging each person to come as they are and who they are. We honor the perspectives and experiences of others. Where there is conflict, we strive for mutual understanding, empathy, and completeness.