FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy and Communications – 202.481.3773; [email protected]
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –Today, more than 1,500 people from the Government of the District of Columbia, businesses, community organizations and the public are participating in the “End the Awkward: Focus on the Person, Not the Disability” campaign. As part of this day-long effort to promote social inclusion of people with disabilities, participating individuals are wearing “End the Awkward: Ask Me How” pins. These pins serve as a conversation starter, so that participants have an opportunity to provide tips to family, friends or customers about appropriate and respectful ways to interact with people with disabilities. The campaign (which includes 17 partner organizations and agencies) is one of several District events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, coming up on July 26.
“My administration is doing everything we can to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at achieving their pathway to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “People with disabilities represent a vibrant and vital part of our community, and ‘End the Awkward’ sends an important message: everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Restaurant servers, baristas, bartenders and bank tellers from across the District will be wearing the “End the Awkward” pin and providing tips to customers. Nearly 1200 employees from 46 businesses and organizations registered to participate, including employees from Busboys and Poets, Tryst, Shaw’s Tavern, Nellie’s Sports Bar, Right Proper Brewing Company, Greenberry’s Coffee & Tea, El Tamarindo, and PNC Bank at Dupont Circle. In addition, more than 550 members of the public registered to participate, as well as many government officials. Participants will be using the #EndTheAwkwardDC hashtag to share their experiences and raise awareness.
“We hope that this campaign will spark thousands of conversations across the District, and our aim is to reach people who typically do not work on or think about issues affecting people with disabilities,” said Mónica Palacio, Director of the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights. “We want to ‘end the awkward’ so that these conversations and interactions happen more often.”
“End the Awkward” is part of the Bowser administration’s broader efforts to strengthen connections between residents, no matter where they live, where they are from, or whether or not they have a disability. The campaign was inspired by Scope’s “End the Awkward” campaign in the United Kingdom, which features “end the awkward” videos and has attracted attention worldwide.
Learn more about the District’s “End the Awkward” campaign and read tips to “end the awkward” at ohr.dc.gov/page/endtheawkwardDC.
Participating businesses and organizations include: Accessibility Partners; Advocates for Justice and Education; The Arc of DC; Assistive Technology Program for the District of Columbia; Busboys and Poets; Cafe Carvy; Capital Travel and Events; Changed Thinking; The Coupe; The Diner; District of Columbia Board of Elections; Felix Fix-It; District of Columbia Office of the Tenant Advocate; Eatonville; Greenberry's Coffee & Tea; El Tamarindo; HIPS; Howard University’s Office of Student Services – Disability Services; Humanity Road; Lars Etzkorn Law PLLC; Lifeline Partnership; Meridian International Center; Metro DC PLAG; MTM, Inc.; National Human Services Assembly; MediSked; National Network of Public Health Institutes; National Rehabilitation Hospital; Nations Learning Center; Nellie's Sports Bar; NoMa Business Improvement District; Number Nine; Open City; Open City at the National Cathedral; PNC Bank (1913 Massachusetts Ave NW Location); RCM of Washington; Reingold LINK; Right Proper Brewing Company; Shaw's Tavern; Tease Free Kids; Thrive DC; Tryst; Tryst at The Phillips; and University of the District of Columbia - Disability Resource Center.
Partner agencies and organizations include: District of Columbia Office of Human Rights; Age-Friendly DC; American Association of People with Disabilities; DC Advocacy Partners; DC Center for Independent Living; DC Department of Small and Local Business Development; DC Department on Disability Services; DC Developmental Disabilities Council; DC Office of Disability Rights; DC Office on Aging; Equal Rights Center; Institute for Educational Leadership; National Disability Rights Network; Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington; Steven Winter Associates, Inc.; Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities; United Cerebral Palsy; United Spinal Association.
About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.