January 26, 2015 at 10:51 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay man to head D.C. Office of API Affairs
David Do, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed gay urban planning specialist David Do, on right, as director of the city’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. (Photo courtesy of David Do)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday night announced she has appointed gay urban planning specialist and former D.C. government official David Do as director of the city’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.

Bowser made the announcement while speaking at the 26th Annual Korean-American Grocers Association of Washington, D.C. Scholarship Award Banquet. The event was held at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family located near Catholic University in the city’s Brookland section.

“David is a passionate leader who is committed to improving the quality of life for the residents of the District of Columbia,” Bowser said in making the announcement.

“I welcome David’s enthusiasm and am delighted to have him join our team. David will be instrumental in working with the AAPI community on behalf of my administration to deliver a fresh start for the District’s residents,” she said.

Do’s appointment to the cabinet-level post requires confirmation by the City Council. Political observers familiar with the Council expect the Council to approve the appointment.

Do is a Vietnamese American and the child of a family that came to the U.S. as Vietnam War refugees. He finished a close second in a five-candidate race for a seat on the D.C. State Board of Education from Ward 1 in last November’s city election. In December he received a master’s degree in community planning from the University of Maryland.

Prior to enrolling in graduate school at Maryland, where he also served as a teaching assistant, Do served as a correspondence management specialist in the mayor’s Correspondence Unit under Mayors Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray.

A statement released by Bowser’s office on Sunday says among Do’s goals in his new job will be to “move forward together by continuing to build bridges between the District’s AAPI community and all Washingtonians.”

The statement adds, “Do will lead OAPIA in its mission to improve the quality of life for District AAPIs through advocacy and engagement. Do will advise the mayor, the Council, and District agencies on the views, needs, and concerns of the AAPI community, provide recommendations on District programs and initiatives affecting the AAPI community, and help to coordinate programs and initiatives within District government that promote the overall welfare of the AAPI community.”

Do becomes the fourth openly gay or lesbian appointed by Bowser to a cabinet-level position. Last week Bowser named lesbian activist, media professional and former Washington Blade vice president for strategic initiatives Sheila Alexander-Reid as director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

Shortly before taking office as mayor on Jan. 2, Bowser named lesbian housing and homelessness policy expert Polly Donaldson as director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development and gay former city official Matt Brown as director of the Mayor’s Office of the Budget.

“I am excited to be appointed by Mayor Bowser to lead the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs,” Do said in a statement. “I will bring my experience and deep understanding of various community groups and stakeholders in Washington, D.C. to my new role,” he said. “My focus will be on making sure that the Asian-American and Pacific Islander has a strong advocate and voice within the District.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • Do becomes the fourth openly gay or lesbian appointed by Bowser to a cabinet-level position.
    –Blade
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    Why do the few LGBT cabinet level Bowser appointments really matter so much? Why should this be news in 2015? It seems kind of elitist, doesn't it?
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    That's especially so given the fact that the Bowser Administration is failing to stop de facto anti-LGBT employment and promotions discrimination among the city's most important public safety employees for LGBTQ residents– the Metopolitan Police Department and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services
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    Open and out LGBT adults comprise fully 10% of DC's adult population. Are there 400 open and out DC police officers to reflect LGBTQs share of the city's population? How about 200 open and out employees of DC FEMS?
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    For, five, six (or even more) LGBTs at cabinet level– but not as Chief of Police or FEMS chief, of course– and that's versus NOT hiring and promoting *HUNDREDS* of LGBT police and EMS professionals to safeguard DC's LGBT residents and their loved ones.
    ˙
    Where's the hiring diversity and fairness in that?

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