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Helping Hands: Operation Understanding

Operation Understanding has been giving back to the community for the past 30 years now. The nonprofit brings students together to fight racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.

“A very important part of the program is the emotional component, difficult discussions addressing tough issues and being honest with each other,” says Daniel Nathan, President of OUDC. “The students create a sense of community, and these are 24 students with a very diverse background.”

Youth from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) are brought together by the nonprofit to empower a generation of social justice leaders by promoting respect, understanding, and cooperation.

“Still focused on anti-racism and anti-Semitism, which is still very important, we are looking at other oppressed minorities,” Nathan said. “We are looking at Asian-Pacific Islanders and anti-Muslim and LGBTQ+.”

Karim Marshall, an active board member, is an alum of the program from the ’90s.

“We have expanded the program to explicitly include all communities because we know that in order for us to make meaningful social changes and build coalitions, we need to make sure that everybody is at the table,” Marshall said.

Amazed by the awesome work that Operation Understanding is doing Joel Bassam of Easterns Automotive Group wanted to surprise Operation Understanding DC with a 7 News Helping Hand.

“Operation Understanding DC has been doing amazing work for almost 30 years. Leading change, strengthening identity, and exploring history is such a beautiful mission. The way that you have been able to promote respect and cooperation by fighting discrimination of all forms is a beautiful mission that we want to support. We are donating $2,200 to your cause so you can keep helping those who need it most.”

Nathan expressed that the donation would benefit the nonprofit in a variety of ways such as paying staff and meals for students.