One Common Unity (OCU) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that breaks cycles of violence and builds compassionate, healthy communities through the transformative power of music, arts, and peace education.
Founded in 2000 following a string of school shootings in Washington, D.C., a group of educators and artists came together to catalyze a community-wide shift away from violence and poverty.
In our rich eighteen-year history, we have engaged over 25,000 youth, families, teachers, and community members in our high impact art and music programs. OCU received the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Humanities and was recently recognized by the Catalogue of Philanthropy as one of the best non-profit organizations in D.C. Our flagship Fly By Light (FBL) program equips the District’s most vulnerable, underserved youth to disrupt cycles of violence and poverty, amplify their creative voices and artistic talents for social change, and unleash their full potential.
Since 2000, One Common Unity has worked to shift the paradigm of violence in our society. We believe that while we are all responsible for creating a more peaceful world, youth voices can and should drive this vision.
Through Fly By Light (FBL), we bring together educators, artists, musicians, and community leaders to amplify youth voices to lead a community-wide shift away from violence and poverty. Youth emerge from Fly By Light as more active and engaged community members, empowered to create positive impact in their own lives and throughout their communities.
Fly By Light employs a holistic, transformative approach to youth education, supporting youth to reach their academic and professional goals while developing health means to cope with trauma, violence, and discrimination. Our innovative curriculum combines social-emotional learning, leadership development, mindfulness, restorative justice, and non-violence practices through the expressions gripping medium of art and music.
In the 2018-2019 school year, Fly By Light serves 5,000 youth, age 11-18, at 15 public schools across all eight wards of Washington, D.C. through school-based and out-of-school workshops, weekend field trips, healing nature retreats, community violence prevention days, as well as school- and community-wide art and music performances.