DC Office of Human Rights | Volume XXXVIII | January 2022
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 17!
A Dead Man’s Dream
By Carl Windell Hines Jr.
Now that he is safely dead
Let us Praise him,
Build monuments to his glory.
Sing Hosannas to his name.
Dead men make such convenient Heroes.
They cannot rise to challenge the images
We would fashion from their Lives.
And besides, it is easy to build monuments,
Than to build a better word.
 
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) became one of the most visible spokespersons and leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement. He was, and remains, a radical vision of equality and justice and a champion of the poor and oppressed.

Today, Dr. King has achieved an almost saint like status in American history. His name appears on streets, buildings, schools, etc. His quotes are used by many, including those whose politics do not and would not have aligned with Dr. King’s political, social, or economic beliefs. Yet, this “fable” of a well-loved, non-violent, patriot obscures the truth about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Aspects of his character and beliefs, such as his stance on non-violence, have been exploited and used to discourage the very types of protest he was engaged in.

When he was alive, Dr. King was considered dangerous and a threat to American ideals. There was an active campaign to discredit him and his work. He was constantly harassed and surveilled. He believed that the biggest problem was not the KKK but the “white moderate” who “preferred order to justice”. He criticized the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. He was imprisoned thirty times in his challenge to American racism, and acknowledged racism in the North. He was so unpopular with the U.S. government, that it took 15 years after his assassination to gain support for a bill that wanted to honor Dr. King with a federal holiday.

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. we must remember who he was and what he stood for in his totality. The war he was fighting for is not over. The victory he wanted has not been won. The movement that he was a leader in is ongoing. Thus, our work as the next generation must continue.
Events
41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Parade
Live via YouTube Live at 12 pm.
For more information, click here.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Walk
Monday, January 17, 2022
10 a.m.
Frederick Douglass Bridge, Washington, D.C.
For more information, click here.
Interim Director's Note

Dear Residents, Neighbors, and Friends,

Happy New Year! As we reflect on 2021 and look ahead to the possibilities of 2022, I’d like to share the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” This quote comes from a letter Dr. King wrote from the Birmingham, Alabama jail where he was imprisoned in April 1962. The now famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is one of the most significant written documents of the civil rights era. In it, King states that we have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take direct action.

Together, we have a collective responsibility to continue the fight for human and civil rights, in our communities, in our city, and in our nation. I encourage each of you to take up that mantle. This year you can honor Dr. King by volunteering in a way that gives back to the Black community; increase your understanding of his life and legacy as well as the Civil Rights Movement as a whole; become an agent of change in your communities; and commit to engage in meaningful conversations about racial injustice.

Here at OHR, we are offering a revamped Human Rights Liaison Training Program 2.0. The first training of Fiscal Year 2022 will be held virtually on January 26th from 10 am to 3:30 p.m. (see below for details).

As we honor Dr. King and continue the long journey toward inclusion and equity, we must begin to think about our own legacy. What kind of world will we leave for the future generations? I leave you with the words of Dr. King himself, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular but [one] must take it because conscience tells [them] it is right.”


Sincerely,
Hnin Khaing, Interim Director
Trait of the Month: Status as a Victim or Family Member of a Victim of Domestic Violence, a Sexual Offense, or Stalking 
Status as a Victim or Family Member of a Victim of Domestic Violence, a Sexual Offense, or Stalking became the 21st protected trait under the D.C. Human Rights Act in 2019. Though it only applies to employment discrimination, it covers a person who has experienced domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking and members of their family.

DID YOU KNOW: Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking take many shapes and forms. And, although women have been found to be the victims in most cases, these crimes also affect men. Gender stereotypes make it difficult to view men as victims and women as perpetrators. Men are also less likely to come forward to feelings of being isolated, embarrassed, and emasculated. As a result, it is hard to estimate how pervasive domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking is against men. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that 1 in 9 men have reported domestic violence incidents. Click here to learn more about the difficult of recognizing domestic violence against men.

To learn more about protected traits, please visit Protected Traits in the DC. Human Rights Act. For more information or to file a complaint, visit our website; ohr.dc.gov.

Resources:
Events and Observances
National Blood Donor Month
January is usually a period of critical blood shortages because people stop donating blood during the holidays and during cold and flu season. Blood donation is particularly important now. The U.S. is currently in the middle of what some call a blood emergency—the blood supply is at is lowest level in a decade. This shortage is largely attributed to low donor turnout since the COVID-19 Delta variant began spreading over the summer.

You may be wondering if you can donate blood if you’ve had COVID or if you have received the vaccine or booster. According to the American Red Cross the answer is YES!

If you are eligible, please consider donating blood. Your donation can save a life.
Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Since 2010, January has been dedicated to raising awareness about the different forms of human trafficking and educating people about the crime. Human trafficking, “trafficking in persons”, and “modern slavery” are umbrella terms used interchangeably by the U.S. Department of State. They describe a crime in which traffickers exploit and profit at the expense of adults of children. Exploitation can include forced labor, marriage, prostitutions, and organ removal. Sex exploitation accounts for nearly $100 billion in profits a year alone.

It is hard to paint an accurate picture of the impact of this crime world-wide because cases often go undetected. However, it is believed that between 20 and 40 million people are in modern slavery today. Internationally, it is estimated that only .04% of survivors are identified. Being aware of the “signs” can go a long way in saving lives.

If you see something, say something. You can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline to connect with services and support for survivors or to report a tip. Call 1-888-373-7888; text 233733; or use the chat.
Human Rights Liaison Program 2.0
January 26th, 2022
10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
**Virtual**
The purpose of this new training program is to prepare liaisons to 1) identify discrimination and 2) assist/support complainants in filing a complaint with the appropriate agency. This introductory 5-hour training will focus on four main components: 
  • Increasing Understanding, in which we will cover a brief history of human rights and D.C.’s role in the struggle. 
  • Reducing Prejudice, in which we will dive into identifying discrimination and providing reasonable accommodations. 
  • Ending Discrimination, in which we will examine what happens after discrimination occurs and the proper channels to file a complaint. 
  • The Role of a Human Rights Liaison. 

What you’ll get from the 2.0 training: 
  • An interactive, accessible learning experience 
  • Strategies for preventing discrimination through education 
  • Supplementary trainings that focus on specific areas, i.e. discrimination in employment or housing, the 21 protected traits, etc. (to be offered at a later date) 

If you have questions please reach out to Dr. Mia Carey, Training Specialist (REAR) at mia.carey@dc.gov.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th

Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNCESCO) recognizes the six million victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its commitment to anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence. The day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945. 
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov