Tenants & Workers United is a democratically-controlled, grassroots organization committed to winning social and economic justice for all people in Northern Virginia.

We are Latinos/as, African Americans, tenants, immigrants, workers, women, youth and low-income people.
We believe:
  • All people have a right to housing, health, and education.
  • Our communities have the right to control our own resources.
  • Power is in collective action.
We organize our communities to win social and economic justice.
We challenge injustice through education and direct action.


Jon-300x300.jpgJon Liss began his organizing in 1980 at the University of Virginia on a campaign for divestment from South Africa. He then returned to Northern Virginia and launched efforts for taxi driver rights, met his future wife and in 1986, he founded Tenants and Workers United (TWU) while fighting the planned eviction of 6,000 people and spearheaded organizing efforts that led to the creation of the resident owned Arlandria-Chirilagua Housing Cooperative.

Over the years his work has led to the creation of the Alexandria Union Cab Cooperative—owned and operated by over 200 cab drivers, a college preparation for all students in Alexandria Public Schools, and 4 million dollars in medical debt relief. He co-founded Right to the City, a national alliance of 40 urban-based social justice groups. In 2007, Jon co-founded Virginia New Majority, Virginia’s leading civic engagement organization and in the last year, has once again taken the helm at Tenants and Workers United. Jon is excited to continue building on the TWU legacy of building power and winning victories for the people of Virginia.


IMG_7875.JPGEvelin Urrutia first joined Tenants and Workers United through the Youth Group many years ago. Through the efforts of her cohort of youth leaders, T.C. Williams High School hired a bilingual counselor for the student body. Today, there are still bilingual staff and resources available to students due to these first efforts. Through this process, Evelin was drawn into organizing. She has been the lead organizer for the Youth Group for 12 years and has recently taken on Parent Organizing too. Under her leadership, the Youth Group won the College Prep for All campaign in 2009 which implemented Individualized Academic Plans. They are are now called Individual Career and Academic Plans for students in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). She piloted the Community Organizing and Education for Democracy (COED) program. COED graduates are currently enrolled in college, traveling the world and looking for ways to contribute to their community through their education and career. Evelin is currently working with the Alexandria United Teens on the Restorative Justice campaign. She lives in Prince William County, has two school age sons and is studying Business Management at Northern Virginia Community College.


Ingris joined Tenants and Workers United youth group, when she was a freshman in high school which its goal over the last several years has been to ensure that Alexandria City Public Schools are providing a high-quality education for children of color, especially Blacks and Latinos. She was also involved in 2007-08 with New Virginia Majority and coordinated with teams of canvassers that encouraged local residents to vote. She believes in the values and the work of the organizations and is prepared to jump in wholeheartedly. Ingris then graduated Northern Virginia Community College 2012 and then earned a B.A. in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. Ingris understands community organizing and the value of leadership development. She currently enjoys working to organize youth in Alexandria, Virginia to win change in school policies of Alexandria City Public Schools as well as in the city level.