Dear residents, neighbours and friends:
November is a special time of year, a time to remember all the reasons why we should be grateful. We often focus on the negative aspects of our lives or our community and forget to appreciate the little things in life that we tend to take for granted. One of the points I would like to highlight this year is the passage of the Human Rights Act of 1977 (HRA) of D.C.
The Human Rights Act has been and remains (for 45 years) one of the most comprehensive human rights laws in the country. It provides protections in the areas of educational institutions, employment, housing, public facilities and government services and prohibits discrimination based on23protected characteristics for those who live, work or visit the district.
On 1 October, we expanded these protections with the coming into force ofthe Human Rights Enhancement Amendment Act (A24-491). The three main aspects of this bill are: (1) the specific addition of independent contractors to the definition of "employee" covered by the Human Rights Act; 2) the addition of homelessness status as aprotected featurein the four areas of application; and 3) redefining and broadening the definition of a hostile work environment.
Similarly, theEviction Record Sealing Authority and Fairness in Renting Amendment Act of 2022 (A24-357) came into force on October 1. The main aspects of the OHR Bill are: (1) the addition of a sealed eviction register as aprotected featurein the housing field and the obligation for landlords to comply with various tenant selection provisions; and (2) explicit identification of certain behaviours as a form of discrimination based on source of income.
We are making every effort to provide you with additional information on these changes by the end of November. Also, I encourage you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the most up-to-date information.
As we continue to celebrate 45 years of the Human Rights Act, we would also like to remind you that the 2022 Human Rights Commission Annual Gala will take place onDecember 6at Metropolitan Square. This year's theme is "Celebrating Outstanding Leadership at the Crossroads between Gender and Human Rights" To attend the gala, you can registerby clicking here. This year, we are awarding three prizes, including the Cornelius R. The Neil Alexander Humanitarian Award, the Emerging Human Rights Leader Award and the brand new Community Award. The Humanitarian Award recognizes the efforts and achievements of a District individual who embodies the indomitable spirit of our famous and former Chief Reviewer of the Commission. The Emerging Leader Award is presented to an individual in the district, 30 years of age or younger, who is on their way to becoming a leader and who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in human rights awareness. The Community Award is given to a district organization, an organization that stands as a leader in the protection and promotion of one or more of the 23 protected features or other human rights issues.
We look forward to celebrating the contributions of this year's winners and continuing to honour the legacy and tradition of protecting human and civil rights.
With all our gratitude,