DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume XXXI | May 2021
May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. It is especially important this year due to the increase in hate-fueled violence and crimes directed at the AAPI community. Every year since 1992, Congress has designated the month of May to acknowledge and celebrate the various and significant contributions the AAPI community has made to our country. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. Asian/Pacific is a very broad and diverse community, but encompasses the entire Asian continent, as well as the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

OHR encourages you to take part in the various virtual and in-person events celebrating AAPI culture, literature, film and cuisine happening in the area. Click here to view a list of events going on this month. As always, we want to remind the AAPI community and the general public that race and national origin are protected in the District. We're an inclusive city and want to build a culture and future where people feel safe and valued. Happy Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month DC!
Guest Director's Note

Dear Neighbors:
Did you know May is Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month? This year, instead of proudly celebrating their heritage, culture and achievements, many are outraged by the incidents of hate and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, while others fear for their safety and safety of their loved ones. The cloud of hate and harassment that descended since the pandemic has not spared the District. We are in the shadow of many incidents, including those against Asian-owned businesses.

But let’s not forget the contributions the AAPI communities make to our District. They enrich our environment with diverse language, religion, cuisine, and music. Asian businesses offer valued goods and services while making important tax payments. And they stand in solidarity with our Black, Latinx and other neighbors and in support of the District’s pursuit for equality and prosperity. We should recognize and celebrate these contributions.

If someone in the AAPI community has been a target of hate or harassment, the District stands ready to work with them to protect their rights and offer resources to recover. The Mayor’s Office on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Office of Human Rights, and the Commission on Human Rights are some of the local resources.

The DC Commission on Human Rights hears and adjudicates complaints of discrimination under the DC Human Rights Act. This Act is one of the most progressive in the country – it prohibits discrimination based on 21 traits, including race, color, religion, and national origin. I am honored to serve as the Commission Chair and pledge to do my best to fight against discrimination against residents and visitors, including those of the AAPI communities.

Let’s work together to eradicate hate and harassment from our District. And let’s celebrate this special Heritage Month while staying vigilant and safe.

Sincerely,
Motoko Aizawa
Chair, DC Commission on Human Rights
Trait of the Month: National Origin
This protected trait makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on the country or area where one’s ancestor’s are fromFor more information or to file a complaint, visit our website; ohr.dc.gov.
Get Vaccinated: Walk-Up Sites Now Open!
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that there are now 11 high-capacity, walk-up vaccination sites throughout the District. No appointment is necessary and will be in addition to the pharmacies, clinics and health care providers already administering the vaccine citywide. These 11 sites will operate their own scheduling systems. To learn more or to find the nearest location, visit www.vaccinefinder.org.
 
Vaccination Sites:
  • Arena Stage
  • Ft. Stanton Rec Center
  • Kenilworth Rec Center
  • Lamond Rec Center
  • Langdon Park Community Center
  • Providence Health System
  • Rosedale Rec Center
  • Turkey Thicket Rec Center
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • Walter E. Washington Convention Center
  • RISE Demonstration Center
OHR is Hosting a Human Rights Liaison Training in June
OHR will be bringing back our signature Human Rights Liaison Training in a two-day virtual session on Thursday and Friday, June 3rd and 4th. Attendees will participate in a free, daylong training on the discrimination laws OHR enforces, as well as the process on how to identify and file a complaint if a client(s) experiences illegal discrimination. If you work for a social services organization and are interested in learning more about our office and the District's civil rights laws, click the photo or the button below to RSVP.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Over 51 million Americans or 1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). That is why, during the month of May we recognize and raise awareness around the countless people that have to manage a mental illness on a daily basis. For 2021, the message is simple but impactful, "You Are Not Alone."

OHR encourages you to spread this message far and wide this month, especially to communities that may not have the same support systems in place. Also, remember that mental and developmental disabilities are covered under the Human Rights Act. If you feel like you've been discriminated against, please file a complaint with our office by clicking here.
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov