Gustavo F. Velasquez
Director, Office of Human Rights
Gustavo F. Velasquez has served as Director of the District’s Office of Human Rights (OHR) since January 2007. In this capacity, Velasquez is responsible for upholding the rights of residents, workers, and visitors of the Nation’s capital afforded by the DC Human Rights Act and numerous other local and federal laws. During his leadership, OHR has: eliminated a notorious backlog of cases; streamlined investigatory procedures, including shortening the time for Office decisions and conducting more thorough investigations; updated city rules and regulations for human rights enforcement; and conducted a wide variety of awareness campaigns and educational projects in partnership with community and advocacy groups.
Between 2003 and 2006, Velasquez served as Director of the District of Columbia Office of Latino Affairs (OLA). As Director of OLA, he assisted with the initial implementation of the DC Language Access Law, which he now oversees as Director of OHR. Prior to his District government career, he was an Executive Manager with Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Congreso), the leading social service provider to Latinos in Philadelphia. At Congreso, he served as both Director of Operations and Director of the Division of Children, Youth and Families. He is known for the development of strategic business plans and client-outcome metrics in the human services field. In addition, he has managed contracts and grants in the areas of child welfare, wellness promotion, housing counseling, workforce development, and financial literacy.
Velasquez also has private sector and international experience. He has worked as an associate at McGann Management Consultants, and served as the Special Assistant to the undersecretary of Planning, in the Mexican Department of Agriculture, and as Regional Coordinator in the Office of Environmental Compliance in the Mexican Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Velasquez has served on many advisory and organizational boards both in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Amongst those boards in Philadelphia are the Philadelphia Empowerment Zone Community Trust Board, the Philadelphia HIV/AIDS Planning Council, the Philadelphia Affordable Housing Coalition, and the Philadelphia Latino Taskforce for Workforce Development. In the District, he has served on the boards of United Planning Organization, the Washington Area Partnership for Immigrants, Hispanics in Philanthropy of Greater Washington, the Carlos Rosario Public Charter School, and GALA Hispanic Theater. He is also a graduate and member of Leadership Greater Washington.
Velasquez received both a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration, and a Masters Degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed the Executive Program on Strategic Planning and Business Transformation at the Wharton School of Business. He lives with his wife and two young children in Ward 6.