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Mayor Gray taps Mónica Palacio as Interim Office of Human Rights Director; Gustavo Velasquez Moves to New Opportunity

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mayor Gray taps Mónica Palacio as Interim Office of Human Rights Director; Gustavo Velasquez Moves to New Opportunity

Mayor Gray Praises Velasquez for Work as OHR Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 24, 2013

CONTACT:       

Elliot Imse, Director of Policy & Communications, 202.481.3773; elliot.imse@dc.gov

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today expressed his appreciation for the work of D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) Director Gustavo Velasquez as he moves on to another opportunity. The Mayor also announced that he had tapped OHR Language Access Program Director Mónica Palacio to serve as the agency’s Interim Director.

“The District has been extremely fortunate to have Director Velasquez at the helm of OHR for nearly seven years,” said Mayor Gray. “Under his leadership, the agency has dramatically reduced the length of time it takes to investigate complaints of discrimination, and he has pushed OHR toward a more proactive role in preventing discrimination before it occurs. Because of his work, we are a more just and welcoming District.”

Velasquez will continue to serve at OHR until November 3, when he will become Executive Director of the Latino Economic Development Center.

As Language Access Program Director, Palacio has increased the number of District government employees who receive language-access training, developed new methodologies for determining agency compliance, and provided legal analysis for issues related to the D.C. Language Access Act. Prior to serving at OHR, Palacio served as a member of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, as a Senior Consultant with the Management Assistance Group offering planning assistance to social-justice organizations, and was Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the National Crime Prevention Council. A Ward 4 resident, she holds a B.A. from Fordham University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

“Mónica Palacio has spent her career advocating for civil and human rights, and she will undoubtedly use that experience and her legal background to ensure that OHR continues to fulfill its mission to address and prevent discrimination in the District,” said Mayor Gray.

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