DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume X | March 2019
It's a Celebration:
Womxn's Herstory Month Edition
Image courtesy of Giphy
Womxn , we see you. We see you not just in the month of March, but 365 days a year. Womxn of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, and identities have contributed to every facet of society, in every way imaginable. Even though we celebrate you all year, this is your month. So make sure to take time out of this month to thank yourself, and thank any womxn that has helped mold you into the person you are today. You may have noticed that we spelled "women/woman" differently and changed history to herstory. This is to be more inclusive of womxn's experiences and identities, especially trans-womxn, gender non-conforming femmes, and womxn of color and how they intersect fighting against prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers. Additionally, it illustrates that womxn are not simply an extension of men. As we celebrate Womxn's Herstory Month this March, remember that you are protected against discrimination in the District. In DC sex is a protected trait, which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on gender, and includes sexual harassment. If you feel like you've been discriminated against based on your gender, you can file a claim with our office (either online or in-person) and OHR will look into the case both confidentially and free of charge. Be sure to check out all of the empowering, fun, and engaging activities the Mayor's Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives has planned for this month. Happy Womxn's Herstory Month!
Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2018
The  Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2018 (SHPA) , is a first of its kind legal measure in the United States that: (1) creates a legal definition of street harassment; (2) establishes a community-based Advisory Committee to study street harassment and develop model policies and trainings; and (3) requires a public information campaign on street harassment. It was designed to uniquely focus on prevention through education instead of criminalization. For more information, visit our website; ohr.dc.gov .
Photo courtesy of artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
This Month's Spotlight
The Mayor's Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives will be hosting a free, salary negotiation class available to DC women in partnership with the American Association of University Women in an effort to bridge the pay equity in the District on Thursday, March 21st at AAUW from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. In the Work Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop , women will learn how to confidently and successfully negotiate their salary and benefits package through facilitated discussion and role-playing activities.

Run a business? Join us on Tuesday, March 19th from 10am to Noon for Building a More Inclusive Business , a monthly series in partnership with DCRA. In each session we will share critical information about how local civil rights protections may impact your business practices. The comprehensive presentation will include legal requirements in public accommodations, as well as best practices to prevent employment discrimination and create a workplace or business that is welcoming to all.

Language Access Hosts Cultural Competency Panel Discussion
The Office of Human Rights in collaboration with the Office of Latino Affairs, African Affairs and Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs hosted the first Language Access and Cultural Competency Training panel discussion at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The panel spoke about fostering an inclusive city government by being respectful of people's language, ethnicity, and culture, which speaks to Mayor Bowser’s commitment to embracing diversity in the District.
Director's Note
Dear Neighbors and Partners,
 
Happy Womxn's Herstory Month! The month of March gives us amplified opportunities to celebrate our sisters, leaders, and partners who identify as female for their contributions and their voices. This Womxn’s Herstory month, I would like to highlight some new and exciting work coming out of our office: Street Harassment Prevention.

In 2018, after years of advocacy the Street Harassment Prevention Act was passed. Street harassment, like all forms of abuse and harassment, is about power and control and most frequently targets those who are marginalized by patriarchy because of their gender, or perceived gender. People who hold marginalized identities experience street harassment differently – and often more frequently and with greater severity- and they usually have less access to support. Because we seek to amplify the voices and experiences of DC’s most marginalized residents, our work must use an intersectional lens that acknowledges the varied ways communities experience street harassment.

Womxn do things everyday to feel safer, like wearing headphones in public to avoid cat-calling or keeping keys in-between our fingers as a potential weapon. Further, womxn become conditioned to harassment because it can start at such an early age that the behavior then begins to feel normalized. Throughout this country and particularly in the current political climate, aggressive and threatening language towards womxn is often not corrected, but often condoned.   But here’s the thing: nobody owns the streets and we as womxn have a right to be safe and feel safe. And it’s not just cat-calling we’re addressing with this work. I join your desire for a stronger, safer community: a community that moves from a culture of harassment and discrimination to a culture of respect and support for the safety of womxn of ALL ages, backgrounds and experiences. A community that holds each other accountable. To my fellow womxn: thank you for strength, we are not powerless, so let’s stick together so we can all stay safe and remain vigilant.
 
Yours in service,
M ó nica Palacio, Director
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov