DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume XXI | February 2020
Happy Black History Month DC!
DC has a long and deep history as the nation’s capital. There’s the monuments, cherry blossoms, the capitol building and other landmarks the city is known for, but for a lot of Washingtonians, the city is known for other things. Some know it as a city of affirmations, where they can see all levels of Black achievement, whether academic, professional, artistic or athletic. A city of doers and thinkers; planners and movers; advocates and activists. A city where abolitionist and orator, Frederick Douglass called his home until his death in February 1895. DC exudes Black history from the cobblestone streets of Georgetown to the furthest tip of South Capitol Street in Ward 8.

This month, OHR will celebrate Black History through a social media campaign called #DistrictDialogue. This campaign intends to start an inter-generational dialogue among Black Washingtonians about the importance of Black History and how best to preserve it in a city that is rapidly changing. The goal is to examine a wide range of perspectives and see how they either intersect or diverge. Blackness in America is not a monolith, but a very diverse and rich collective. Ideally, through both shared and differing experiences we can learn from one another.

Be sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms ( Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , YouTube ) to participate in the #DistrictDialogue campaign, as well as get the latest human rights news, activities and events.

Happy Black History Month!
Trait of the Month: Personal Appearance
This protected trait makes it unlawful to discriminate based on outward appearance, which includes hair styles and beards, dress, body type, piercings, and/or tattoos unless it violates dress code or uniform policies. For more information or to file a complaint visit our website,  ohr.dc.gov .
Introduction of Interim Director Michelle Garcia
This month, Mayor Bowser announced that Michelle M. Garcia will serve as the Interim Director of the Office of Human Rights (OHR), while continuing to lead the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG). In her role as the Director of OVSJG, Ms. Garcia provides leadership and coordination of District-funded programs that serve crime victims, prevent crime, and improve the administration of justice for victims and offenders. During her tenure, Director Garcia has provided policy making expertise, advice, and counsel on evidence-based practices.

Upcoming Events
For over 40 years, the District has opened the doors of opportunities to countless young Washingtonians. Now we need our youth (DC residents between the ages of 14 and 24) to apply. Additionally, we need employers to partner with the Department of Employment Services . Applications to do both are now open at summerjobs.dc.gov . Applications will remain open until February 29 , and the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) will run from Monday, June 29 through Friday, August 7.

On February 17, 2020 from 7pm to 9pm at the Eaton Hotel , Creative Theory Agency will host a private screening of "The Black Power Mixtape 1967 - 1975" . The Sundance award winning film offers an in-depth breakdown of the civil rights era like you've never heard it before. The screening is free but space is limited so be sure to RSVP!
Guest Director's Note
Happy Black History Month DC! 
I am Ashley Emerson, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs (MOAAA). As a second generation Washingtonian, it is an honor to lead the important work of advocating on behalf of the challenges, and championing the successes of all African American residents here in the District.
As our city continues to grow, our roots must remain even stronger. This is why Mayor Bowser charged MOAAA with working across government agencies to advise on innovative strategies to help close the equity gap, coordinate resources to empower residents, and convene community organizations whose mission is to advance the African American community.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate our achievements, past and present. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History created “Negro History Week.” It was celebrated the second week of February, chosen in part, to celebrate the birthday of abolitionist and long-time Washingtonian, Frederick Douglass. Black History Month became officially recognized in the United States in 1976.
Across all 8 wards, for many generations African Americans have made significant contributions to the civic, cultural, and economic, prosperity of Washington, DC. One of the most beloved writers of the 20th Century, Langston Hughes bused tables all around the U Street Corridor. The legendary Chuck Brown birthed Go-Go in DC, a sound deriving from the African Diaspora infusing Funk, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Blues, Soul, R&B and Latin music to create a distinct pulse of the city. In addition to Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street, DC had Black Broadway, a corridor of entertainment venues and economically viable black-owned businesses on U Street.
These moments in history tell the resilience of African Americans in February, but every day. This is why we created #BlackHistoryDC, for Washingtonians to tell black stories and learn about DC's rich history every day, all year. Visit  MOAAA.dc.gov  and stay tuned for our upcoming #BlackHistoryDC live video series and upcoming Black History Month events .
Ashley Emerson, Executive Director
Mayor's Office on African American Affairs
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov