Graham presses Metro on human rights policy
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GLAA on Human Rights

Graham presses Metro on human rights policy

JIM GRAHAM
Councilmember, Ward One
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 406
Washington, D.C. 20004

Chair,
Human Rights, Latino Affairs & Property Management Subcommittee

2nd Vice Chair,
Board of Directors, WMATA/Metro

June 28, 2002

Richard White, General Manager
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. White:

I am concerned about the enclosed letter that I have just received from Mr. Bob Sumersgill, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, concerning WMATA/Metro and the District's Human Rights Act. In his comments to me, Mr. Summersgill has noted that lawyers representing Metro have successfully argued that Metro should not be subject to that law. Though their arguments have been based on age and disability issues, I am very concerned that this position leaves open a very dangerous doorway.

I am aware that WMATA/Metro is a "quasi" government entity. However, I can see no immediate reason why this organization should not offer District residents the same protections as every other organization within the District, public or private. I further feel that it sets a dangerous precedent that any organization argue for an exemption from a District law whose sole purpose is to guarantee equal treatment and access for all residents.

I do, however, also understand the complexities of a business environment. As such, perhaps there are other alternatives. In his letter, Mr. Summersgill does suggest the possibility of an official declaration. Such an act could easily and effectively clear any concern that WMATA/Metro does not fully support the District's Human Rights Act.

It is my request that you play a lead role in assuring that this matter is resolved, effectively and with sensitivity to all of the stakeholders.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jim Graham

Cc: Bob Summersgill, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

JG/fg


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