DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume XIV | July 2019
Building Bridges Book Club
In collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Religious Affairs (MORA), the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) is launching it's Building Bridges Book Club this month. Each month, between July and September, OHR and MORA staff will be reading books closely related to our work, including books exploring topics like civil rights, inclusion, bias and much more.

The first book in the series will be Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, a Harvard sociologist who explores the poorest areas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlighting eight families struggling to pay rent to their landlords around the 2008 financial crisis. The book points out issues of extreme poverty, affordable housing and economic exploitation in the United States.

Other books in the series include:
  • Chocolate City by Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

OHR and MORA invites you to pick up these conscious summer reads and then join OHR Director Mónica Palacio and MORA Director Thomas Bowen as they share their thoughts on Facebook live at the end of each month. If you haven't already, please click the link below to follow our page on Facebook and get all of our exciting content directly to your news feed.

P.S. If you're wondering why there's an ice cream background. It's because July is National Ice Cream Month! Bon Appetite!
Trait of the Month : Place of Residence or Business
This protected trait makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on geographical location of home or work. This protected trait only applies to the areas of housing and public accommodation. For more information or to file a complaint, visit our website; ohr.dc.gov .
This Month's Spotlight
ANC 7E will be holding their inaugural Public Safety and Community Wellness Day on July 13th from noon until 4pm at JC Nalle Elementary (219 50th St SE) . The purpose of the event is to empower and mobilize Ward 7 by connecting residents to resources and information.

Join OHR for a discussion of the Ban the Box laws in the District on Wednesday, July 31st at Benning Library (3935 Benning Rd NE) @ 6pm . Did you know employers and housing providers can't inquire about your criminal background before making a conditional offer? Learn more by attending this FREE workshop !    

Highlights from OHR
At the end of June, OHR released our Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report. The report highlights data on the rate of discrimination complaints received by OHR, as well as new laws being enforced, proactive initiatives, outreach and prevention efforts.

In FY 2018, the District received a  total 1,747 inquiries alleging discrimination, with OHR docketing 512 of those inquiries for investigation . Additionally, because mediation is mandatory in OHR’s process, approximately half of these individuals were able to settle their discrimination claims for a total of nearly  $3 million dollars in monetary compensation .

Director's Note
Dear Neighbors, Stakeholders and Partners,

Summer is officially here! T his is a great time of year in DC with lots of outdoor concerts, spray parks filled with kids and neighbors grilling and hanging out together. As we are enjoying all that summer has to offer, let us remember that everyone has a right to enjoy it safely and free of mistreatment, disrespect and/or discrimination. Hopefully, you will never have to utilize our services, but if you do, I want to stress that OHR is here for you.
In addition to joining our book club, I hope you take a few minutes to read more about all the great work my team is doing across the District. As we highlighted in our  Fiscal Year 2018 report  (above), OHR is dedicated to finding innovative ways to combat discrimination. Through proactive outreach and campaigns in all 8 Wards, holding Listening Labs for vulnerable communities or enforcing new laws and protections, we are doing our best to serve District residents each and every day.
Have a wonderful  month of July and stay safe!
Yours in service,
M ó nica Palacio, OHR Director
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov