Mónica Palacio: Bio
Director, DC Office of Human Rights
Mónica Palacio was appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray on November 3, 2013 to serve as Acting Director of the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), whose mission is to investigate and eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live, work, or visit in the District. She became the permanent Director in March 2014. For over twenty years Mónica has served as a leader in the fields of civil rights, leadership development and capacity building for social justice organizations and comprehensive community planning initiatives. She brings extensive experience advocating with, and on behalf of, under-represented and disenfranchised communities through issue-based coalitions, government and community partnerships, and social justice organizations at the local and national level. She served as a senior consultant at the Management Assistance Group, Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the National Crime Prevention Council, and Associate Director of Latino Leadership Programs with the National Coalition Building Institute.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Palacio served as the Director of the District’s Language Access Program, which is also housed at the Office of Human Rights. Her mandate was to ensure that all District agencies operate in compliance with the 2004 Language Access Act. During her two year tenure as director, Mónica led agencies to improve overall compliance by implementing new assessment methodologies, supporting the creation of language access teams at over 30 agencies and building capacity at agencies through dynamic and culturally competent training to over 3000 front line customer representative and agency managers.
Mónica holds a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Fordham University. Since 1993, she has worked with and helped launch dozens of based community based organizations in the District such as Public Allies-DC, YouthBuild, Mary’s Center, Asian American Lead, the Family Place, Tenants and Workers United, and Ayuda. From 2004 to 2008, Mónica also served as a Commissioner of the District’s Commission on Human Rights. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, has lived in the District for over 23 years and currently resides in the Petworth neighborhood of Ward 4 with her son Joaquin.