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LGBT activists meet with D.C. police chief

Met Tues to discuss range of issues related to police response to anti-LGBT violence.



Thirteen representatives of the LGBT community met on Tuesday with D.C. Police Chef Cathy Lanier and other police officials to discuss what participants said was a range of issues related to police response to anti-LGBT violence.

“It was very productive and a lot of information was exchanged,” said Rick Rosendall, vice president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

According to accounts by Rosendall; Chris Farris, former chair of the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV); and gay activist Nick McCoy, Lanier made it clear that she would take strict disciplinary action against police officers who fail to follow the department’s policies for responding to calls for help by citizens, including LGBT citizens.

The activists said Lanier was referring to the widely publicized incident in late July when five lesbians were attacked and beaten by two male suspects outside the Columbia Heights Metro station and police officers responding to the scene refused to take a report. Two of the victims in the attack said the officers also released one of the attackers after initially holding him after the victims identified him as one of the men who assaulted them.

Police have since arrested one of the two attackers on a charge of simple assault and making threats of bodily harm. The charges were listed as anti-lesbian bias-related crimes.

Lanier has said the matter was under investigation but the officers could be fired for failing to take a police report.

Farris said Lanier also expressed concern and promised to look into reports by the activists attending the meeting that members of the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit have been far less visible in the community over the past few years compared to past years. GLOV members have complained that officers and police investigators, such as homicide detectives, haven’t been calling on the GLLU for assistance in LGBT-related cases in an apparent violation of department policy.

McCoy said that in response to concerns raised by transgender activists Earline Budd, Jeri Hughes, and others, Lanier promised to determine whether the department can improve its communication with the LGBT community when seeking help in solving crimes against transgender people. Hughes raised concerns that homicide investigators have yet to make visible progress on at least three unsolved murders of transgender women.

“She made a commitment to follow up on all of these things,” said Farris.

Among those attending the meeting, in addition to Rosendall, Farris, Budd, and Hughes, were Brian Watson of Transgender Health Empowerment; Ruby Corado and Jason Terry of the D.C. Trans Coalition; June Crenshaw and Shauna Fecher of Rainbow Response Coalition, a local group that monitors LGBT-related domestic violence; A.J. Singletary of GLOV; and local activists Alison Gardner and Isaiah Toney.

Deputy Chief Diane Groomes was among the police officials who joined Lanier at the meeting.



Virginia Beach high school students stage walkouts to support transgender rights

City’s school board approved policy to out trans students to parents



Transgender flags (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.)

Students at five Virginia Beach high schools on Friday staged walkouts in support of transgender rights.

The walkout is in response to the Virginia Beach School Board approving policy 5-31, which the Pride Liberation Project says will require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Students have been organizing walkouts across the state since Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year announced new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students.

“Students like me aren’t going to be able to talk to our teachers if we’re constantly worried about our school officials calling home to forcibly out us,” AJ, a trans Kellam High School Student, told the Pride Liberation Project.

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District of Columbia

Pepco, Exelon announce $2.7 million in funding for four minority-owned businesses

‘It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table’



Pepco and Exelon held a press conference Friday to announce four recipients of $2.7 million in investments. (Photo courtesy Exelon)

Pepco and Exelon announced a $2.7 million investment in four minority-owned businesses on Friday.

“Today’s been a long time coming,” said Pepco Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs Valencia McClure.

Pepco’s parent company, Exelon, launched the Racial Equity Capital Fund (RECF) in 2022 to expand capital access to diverse businesses. This latest $2.7 million investment is just a portion of RECF’s $36 million in funding.

At the announcement, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser spoke about the other ways Pepco and Exelon have “put their money where their mouth is” through their partnership with the D.C. Infrastructure Academy. She reported that all 22 of the residents that graduated from the program last week have a job offer from Pepco.

“We know that is not just a job, but a career,” she said to the crowd’s applause. “We know that working together, we can invest in D.C. residents, provide opportunity, and ensure that our D.C. businesses are a part of D.C.’s growing prosperity.”

The four minority businesses that received funding were Gemini Energy Solutions, Public Sector Solutions Group, CJR Development Partners, and Escalate.

“It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table,” said fund recipient Nicole Cober, CJR Development’s Principle Managing Partner.

Gemini Energy Solutions, which is Black owned, received $1 million, the most of the four companies. Its mission is to equitably scale energy efficiency to marginalized communities. For the founder and CEO Anthony Kinslow II, this investment means that he is able to get paid and advance the work of his organization.

“We are now able to accelerate the work in our software and technology development,” he said. “What we were going to do in two years, we are now going to do in six months.”

For Escalate, a workforce development platform focused on frontline worker retention, the funding means that it will be able to double the pay for frontline workers.

Public Sector Solutions Group CEO Darryl Wiggins emphasized that this investment was not just ‘charity’ work, but mission-driven work.

“The principle and the intent is greater than the money we receive,” he said. Public Sector Solutions is Black owned.

Public Sector Solutions Group received a $600,000 debt investment; CJR Development, a minority and woman-owned small business, received a $600,000 debt investment; and Escalate, a majority Black and woman-owned company, received a $500,000 equity investment.

Exelon launched the RECF in partnership with RockCreek, one of the world’s largest diverse-owned global investment firms, in 2022. The RECF expands capital access to diverse businesses so they can create more jobs, grow their companies and reinvest in their neighborhoods and communities, according to a statement from Exelon.

New RECF applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested businesses may apply online or contact RockCreek at [email protected] for more information.

(Photo courtesy Exelon)
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Comings & Goings

Armstrong recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award



Lynden C. Armstrong

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

Congratulations to Lynden C. Armstrong on his Lifetime Achievement award from the Congressional Management Foundation in recognition of his exemplary public service in Congress. 

Upon receiving the award Armstrong said, “This recognition is not just a personal achievement, but a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of colleagues and mentors who have been with me on this journey. I’ve dedicated my entire career to public service within the Senate, where recognition isn’t the primary motivation for our work, making this recognition even more humbling.” He is currently Deputy Assistant Senate Sergeant at Arms and Chief Information Officer.  

Armstrong started his career with Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), where he rose to Deputy Chief of Staff in his more than 13-year stint. In 2004, during his tenure with Domenici, amid a debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment, Armstrong became a co-founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Allies Senate Staff (GLASS) Caucus. In 2014, he moved to the Sergeant at Arms CIO organization, where he established a new department within the CIO that was crafted to engage Senate offices in comprehending and harnessing technologies provided by the SAA. 

Lynden has previously served as Chief Clerk on the U.S. Senate, Committee on Rules and Administration, and with the U.S. Senate, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as Deputy Inaugural Coordinator, 2012–2013.  In that role among other responsibilities, he served as civilian liaison to the National Special Security Event Executive Steering Committee and subcommittees, including the Capitol, USCP, Crowd Management, Public Relations, Transportation, and credentialing, and as liaison to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region. 

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