DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume VIII | January 2019
Highlights from Honoring Our Legacy:
Milestones in Civil & Human Rights Gala
Top-Right: Paul M. Smith is awarded the Humanitarian Award.
Bottom-Right: Earl Fowlkes, COHR Chair addresses the audience.
In December, the Commission on Human Rights (COHR) held it's 8th Annual Awards Gala. Each year the Commission hosts an awards gala to commemorate the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which celebrated it's 70th Anniversary. This year's gala was entitled Honoring Our Legacy: Milestones in Civil and Human Rights because of the important human rights milestones being observed both locally and nationally, including the 10th anniversary of the District becoming the first U.S. Human Rights City and the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was a night of reflection and celebration of human and civil rights milestones, as well as exploring our place in the fight to preserve and expand on these achievements. Select students were recognized and presented from their Georgetown Street Law's DC Human Rights Act Capstone Mock Trials. The night was capped off with the presentation of the Cornelius R. "Neil" Alexander Humanitarian Award, named in honor of the longtime Chief Administrative Law Judge who served the COHR for over 20 years. We were pleased to award Paul M. Smith , an accomplished civil rights advocate, attorney, and Vice President of Litigation & Strategy at Campaign Legal Center, with the award in 2018. Mr. Smith continues to play a critical role in several important cases advancing civil liberties nationally and has more than three decades of experience litigating a wide range of cases.
Trait of the Month: Familial Status
This protected trait makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on they are a parent or guardian with children under 18. This protected trait applies to the areas of Housing, Public Accommodations, and Educational Institutions. For more information or to file a complaint, visit our website; ohr.dc.gov .
This Month's Spotlight
Join Turner Memorial AME Church and Sixth & I’s MLK Shabbat: Visions of Freedom and Justice on January 18 at 7pm at Sixth and I (600 I St NW) for a moving service commemorating the spirit and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Immediately following the service, there will be a social justice fair for people to connect with organizations doing work around civil and human rights.

Join us for the 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade on Monday, January 21st from 11am to 3pm at the entrance to Anacostia Park (MLK & Good Hope Rd SE). Take part in this strong tradition started by radio talk show host and community activist Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Washington Informer publisher and philanthropist Dr. Calvin W. Rolark and former Ward 8 Councilmember Wilhelmina J. Rolark. The parade began in 1979, six years before Kings’s birthday became a federal holiday. We continue the tradition and celebration that the Rolarks and Petey Greene started, as we honor Dr. King and keep his message alive.

Director's Note
Dear Neighbors and Partners,
 
Martin Luther King Jr. once famously wrote:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Today and always, these words resonate with so many of us because we know that we must remain vigilant. Centuries old systems of imposed inequality, such as those embedded in our country’s criminal justice systems, still threaten and divide us. Constant failures in national leadership fueled by the rhetoric of hate, still threaten and divide us. However, we can still find hope and we must find strength to act. Dr. King, in the same quote goes on to say, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." Danger lies when we don’t see that we are being divided and played against one another. It is tempting to fall into the habit of shielding ourselves from the outside world, especially when negative events and harmful policies seem to go unnoticed or unchecked. But we must continue to take note and take action when we see someone suffering from harm caused by injustice because we are all inescapably connected and must not lose sight of that. 
 
Thank you Dr. King for your selfless activism, sacrifices and inspiration. In this New Year and beyond, I invite all of you to join me in the continued fight against injustice, intolerance, and discrimination.
 
Yours in service,
M ó nica Palacio, Director
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov