I am running for Mayor because I believe every resident, no matter their affiliation, should have access and say so in a government that is free of cronyism and represents their interests. From serving as Executive Director of the DC Association of Retarded Citizens to helping to found DC Covenant House for homeless youth, my passion and advocacy for human rights has been a life-long endeavor that I will continue as Mayor.
In the last decade, we've made major progress in our fight for human rights. I was proud to have led the Council in passing landmark marriage equality legislation earlier this year. Together, we signaled that our city respects and affords equal rights to every resident no matter who they love.
Our work is far from finished. It's time to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that marriage rights secured for the District's LGBT community remain intact, finally end discrimination that members of the community continue to face, and build safer, healthier communities for all residents.
As Mayor, I will give full backing and support to the Office of Human Rights and the Office of Gay and Lesbian Affairs to battle against discriminatory practices within and outside of government, and to increase access to and improve the quality of government services.
As Mayor, I will do more to address the growing number of hate crimes in our city. As Council Chair, I authored a resolution to bring added attention to this issue and ensured that a hearing was held to raise awareness and develop preventive strategies. I've also spoken passionately about the important role that the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department has in preventing and addressing these crimes. As Mayor, I will renew real partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve to create safer and more secure neighborhoods for all residents.
As Mayor, I will renew efforts to reduce the District's unacceptably high HIV/AIDS rates by working with community groups on education and prevention strategies. I will ensure there is strong, stable, and effective leadership at the Department of Health and HIV/AIDS Administration, and will actively work with the leadership and the GLBT community to develop a five-year strategic education and prevention plan that will hold all stakeholders accountable for doing their part. A key part of this plan will be to reduce the stigma associated with HIV so that people seek out and receive necessary health and other support services to live healthy and productive lives.
I believe the community knows they have a friend and a champion in Vince Gray. I am proud of the support I have always received from the GLBT community, including the recent endorsement from the Gertrude Stein Democrats, and look forward to championing the needs of the community as we become One City.