Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, we celebrate what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 93rd birthday.
It’s a day to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King—a fearless, zealous, and courageous leader who lifted and amplified the voices of vulnerable populations and communities, fought for equal rights, and served as a relentless and fierce advocate for workers and low-income people.
On this day, we commemorate the fleeting but remarkable life of Dr. King. In his 39 years on earth, Dr. King accomplished a great deal. For example, he:
- Enrolled in Morehouse College at the age of 15.
- Became an ordained minister at Ebenezer Church in Atlanta at the age of 19.
- Earned his Doctorate in Theology from Boston University at the age of 26.
- Became the Chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at 27.
- Led the March on Washington at age 34.
- Inspired a nation and changed the world.
Dr. King was only 39 years old when he was tragically shot and killed, but his legacy lives on through the work he inspired.
In his honor, let’s recommit to and realign ourselves with Dr. King’s objectives of achieving a “beloved community.” A community in which everyone is cared for. A community that is absent of poverty, hunger, and hate.
At our office, we work every day to fight for civil rights and economic justice, lift up vulnerable residents, crack down on slumlords, support affordable housing, advocate for workers’ rights, lead the way on juvenile justice reform, and more. Our work continues, but it also takes a collective effort from everyone to step up and help make a difference in big and small ways.
And please, —as you make your impact today, make sure that you are following the recommended medical guidance to protect yourself and those around you.
Karl A. Racine
Reflecting on the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection
A year ago, America watched in horror as a group of violent and lawless domestic terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol – a global symbol of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. For those of us in the District, this attack took place in our community, and it severely impacted our residents – especially our Metropolitan Police Department officers who put their lives on the line to defend the Capitol and our democracy that day. And it continues to impact so many of them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Over the past year, my office has been doing our due diligence, compiling evidence, and working to bring the strongest suit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, as well as their members and leaders. And just a few weeks ago, we announced that lawsuit – the first by a government entity under the 1874 Ku Klux Klan Act against the January 6 insurrectionists. As I stated earlier this week on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, our lawsuit is about holding the insurrectionists accountable, seeking justice for the brave MPD officers, working to bankrupt these hate groups, and trying to prevent such an attack from happening again.
Consumer Alert: Surprise Medical Bills Are Now Illegal
As of January 1, unexpected medical bills from an out-of-network provider, so-called surprise medical bills, are now illegal. Before this year, consumers were often hit with surprise medical bills if their health insurance plan didn’t cover the entire cost of an out-of-network visit. The No Surprises Act, passed by Congress, bans surprise bills for most emergency services — even if you get them out-of-network and without prior approval.
If you received a surprise medical bill after January 1, you can call OAG’s Office of Consumer Protection at (202) 442-9828 or submit a complaint at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to learn more about the ban on surprise medical bills.
Raising Awareness about the Need to Stop Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a form of slavery, and one of the most heinous crimes. These crimes – which include sex trafficking of children and abuse of workers – happen in our own communities, but they are hidden in the shadows. Our office works tirelessly alongside committed partners — including individuals and not for profit organizations — to combat these horrific crimes against our children and those seeking to provide for their families. To stop human trafficking, we must increase awareness and help residents to understand the signs of illegal trafficking so that they can help identify and report these crimes to authorities. We must also ensure that victims of human trafficking receive the support and resources they need to heal from the harm caused to them.
To learn more about ways to spot the warning signs of human trafficking and how to report it, watch this video.
Victory in Lawsuit that Stopped Slumlords & Developers from Displacing Long-term African American Tenants
Earlier this month, my office won a precedent-setting victory in a long-running lawsuit against well-connected slumlords and developers who conspired to displace long-time African American tenants from homes they lived in for decades. This settlement fully concludes our first lawsuit, which started in 2016, to protect low-income tenants and hold slumlords accountable for forcing residents to live in unsafe and unlawful conditions. It also prevented these slumlords and developers from pushing out the tenants to clear the way for development of expensive market-rate housing adjacent to the Congress Heights Metro Station. As a result of extensive collaboration between our office and the remaining tenants, the building’s new nonprofit owner will transform the current 47-unit apartment complex into approximately 180 units of affordable housing as well as significant retail at the site. For decades in the future, our tenants — along with many other members of our community, including families and seniors — will be able to enjoy living in safe, healthy, and affordable housing in Congress Heights. Read more from The Washington Post.
Defending the Residents of Foster House
We stepped in to defend the residents of Foster House, because no one should have to choose between living in horrible conditions and being displaced from their homes. We have repeatedly implored New Bethel Baptist Church to follow the law and repair the Foster House apartments, which it has neglected for too long. New Bethel and its developer partner intentionally disregarded the District’s law and forced its mostly Black, brown, and senior tenants to live in apartments that are rife with mold, water leaks, broken appliances, rodents, and cockroaches. These conditions are illegal and unsafe, and they're displacing long-term residents in a rapidly gentrifying part of the District. That’s why we stepped in. On January 13, 2022, New Bethel agreed to enter into a consent order to relocate the tenants to safe apartments within 90 days and to abate the conditions in Foster House. Read more from The Washington Post.
Wrapping Up the “Voices from Across My Office” Blog Series
Yesterday, my office concluded our “Voices from Across My Office” blog series. This eleven-part series highlights the broad array of the work our office does to advocate for District residents. The posts highlight some of the many individuals who work at OAG and the diversity of work they do to support, defend, and stand up for District residents. The series showcases a variety of employees—both attorneys and non-attorneys—from our 10 Offices and Divisions, as well as OAG’s Cure the Streets Program. Click here to see each of the Medium posts highlighting OAG’s work and the inspiring, dedicated, and mission-driven people who work at the office.
Eradicating Fake COVID Tests
Unauthorized COVID-19 tests may be overpriced and could be fraudulent or inaccurate. DC residents can get tests for free at local libraries or from authorized resellers. Read more from Axios.
Consumer Alert: Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors Today
With the recent cold weather, it’s important that District residents are staying warm in their homes — and doing it safely. Recently, two men died in Maryland in a carbon monoxide incident, a tragic and preventable accident. Carbon Monoxide is deadly, silent, and acts quickly, but you can stay safe by ensuring that you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home today. Learn more here.