November 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Comings & Goings
Jorge Amaro, Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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 comingsandgoings@washblade.com.

Brett Zongker, gay news, Washington Blade

Brett Zongker

Congratulations to Brett Zongker who is now with the public affairs office in the Library of Congress. Brett joined the public affairs team at the Library of Congress to oversee communications on exhibitions, new collections and literary programs, among other public programs. In addition he will continue to teach in the School of Communication at American University, where he has been an adjunct professor since 2012.

Upon taking the position at the Library, Zongker said, “I’m thrilled to be returning to the world of Washington’s fantastic cultural institutions, and the Library of Congress has an amazing collection. I feel very lucky to be able to help tell stories from the Library’s vast archives and share more of the collection with the public.” Zongker has previously covered the arts, culture and museums during more than 11 years as a staff writer and multimedia journalist with the Associated Press.

Before joining the Library at the end of October, Zongker most recently served as senior associate director of media relations at George Washington University where he led media strategy, editorial planning and communications for the university’s academic and research programs. He worked closely with the GW Program on Extremism, the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum, the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, and other schools and programs.

Congratulations also to Wes Morrison on receiving the AARP DC 2017 Andrus Award for Community Service. This annual award recognizes those who make a powerful difference in their community.

Morrison certainly meets all those criteria. AARP DC will donate $1,000 to Mary’s House for Older Adults on behalf of Morrison, in honor of this recognition. This charity was selected by Morrison to support Mary’s House vision of “independent, communal housing for older adults that eliminates the intense isolation experienced due to aging, subtle and not so subtle discrimination and intolerance based on one’s sexual/gender identity or orientation.”

Morrison worked for a major television network for 32 years before he was unexpectedly laid off in 2009. At the age of 64, not ready to retire, he wanted to be of service, especially to those in the LGBTQ community. Having personally lost nearly 100 friends from AIDS and other illnesses Morrison recognized that he and others in the LGBTQ community faced challenges in the areas of social and civic inclusion.

Then Morrison met Carol Page, a former AARP DC staff member, who invited him to march with AARP in the Capital Pride parade. It wasn’t long before he was volunteering with AARP on a regular basis. Morrison said, “I began to do presentations for AARP, which allowed me to engage with people and participate fully in living. Having people smile and say, ‘Thank you I didn’t know this program existed,’ fulfills my need to help improve their well being. We live in a world now where everyone is connected by technology, but it can still be isolating. The great thing about volunteering is the connectivity to people in the community.”

In addition to AARP, Morrison volunteers with the DC Office on Aging and Age-Friendly DC; contributes to the Cleveland & Woodley Park Village; and serves as an assistant coordinator at a school for English as a second language. He is a member of the Citizens Advisory Group at Iona Senior Services. Morrison participates in various groups advocating for LGBTQ seniors including: Whitman-Walker Health Aging Coalition, Mary’s House for Older Adults, Iona Senior Services LGBTQ Live Well Academy seminars, Capital Pride Parade and Festival, and Sibley Memorial Hospital transgender program.

Wes Morrison, gay news, Washington Blade

Wes Morrison

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