A beach party in Washington?
There wasn’t any sand or water, but on May 15, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau tried its best to bring Florida sunshine to the District.
Bikini-clad models, beach decor and sidewalk chalk helped transform the corner of 7th and F streets NW into an all-day tropical party. Staffers wearing “Hello Sunny” T-shirts passed out sunglasses, while a “beach cam” streamed live footage from Fort Lauderdale. DJ Tommy McFly, host of “The Tommy in the morning Show” on WIAD-FM, stopped by.
Event organizers said the idea was to encourage tourism to the Florida beach town.
— Abha Bhattarai
From massages during busy season to paid time off to do one’s Christmas shopping, companies across Washington are coming up with clever ways to build an attractive workplace culture. At its annual celebration at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, nonprofit Alliance for Workplace Excellence gave awards to dozens of local employers who offer such perks to their employees, and for their commitment to championing diversity, wellness, sustainability and flexibility. Emcee Leon Harris of ABC7/WJLA-TV helped recognize organizations such as Montgomery College, Calvert Investments and Federal Realty Investment Trust. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett was also on hand to congratulate the winners for their efforts. Keynote speaker Maureen E. Gormley talked about the success her employer, the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, has had in integrating individuals with intellectual disabilities into its workforce. Through a program called Project Search, the research hospital has been bringing these workers in for 30-week unpaid internships after they finish high school, and has ultimately ended up hiring about 76 percent of them.
— Sarah Halzack
Kensington resident Pascal Tessier, 17, stood outside the District offices of Amazon.com last week with a direct plea: The world’s largest online retailer should end its support for the Boy Scouts of America until that organization allows openly gay men and women to serve in leadership roles.
The Eagle Scout started a Change.org petition with the help of Scouts for Equality that had garnered more than 125,000 signatures . Tessier and his mother, Tracie Felker, then flew to Seattle to deliver the petition to Amazon’s headquarters.
The issue stems from Amazon allowing customers to donate a percentage of purchases made through AmazonSmile, its charitable giving program, to the Boy Scouts of America. That organization overturned a long-term ban on gay scouts last year, but still excludes gay and lesbian adults.
“Amazon is known for being very progressive. They’ve been a huge friend to the gay rights movement,” Tessier said. “However, they’re indirectly supporting discrimination ... in their charitable giving programs.”
The AmazonSmile Participation Agreement bars organizations that practice or encourage discrimination from taking part, an eligibility requirement that Tessier said the Boy Scouts of American fails to meet.
“Customers can select from nearly a million legally recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organizations on AmazonSmile. We rely on lists published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to determine if certain organizations are ineligible to participate,” Amazon.com spokesman Ty Rogers said. (Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns Capital Business.)