Category Archives: DEI

April 2023 Insider | DEI Updates

Our team members LaJuana WarrenJennifer Gafford, and Stephanie Tschohl recently attended the Forum on Workplace Inclusion Conference in Minneapolis, which marked its 35th year. The conference offered a diverse range of workshops, including sessions on Racial Justice at Work, Building Networks of Allyship, and Operationalizing a Workplace Culture of Belonging. We are thrilled to announce that our team was able to attend a wide variety of these workshops, and we are excited to share recordings of many of these sessions over the next few months via Zoom!

In May, we will celebrate AAPI-Asian American Pacific Islander Month with a special guest speaker, Lisa Ong. Lisa was a hit at last year’s event, and we are sure this year will be no exception. We will also be celebrating Jewish Heritage Month with a visit to the Holocaust Museum and lunch, and we encourage everyone to stay tuned for the dates.

If there are any topics you would like us to discuss or cover, please reach out to LaJuana Warren or the co-chairs with your suggestions and ideas.


Team Members and Executive Leadership Celebrate Juneteenth at Columbia Island Marina

June 19th (Juneteenth), 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, is the day in US history when Northern troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure all enslaved people were freed. It is also a date that has often been drastically overlooked throughout our country’s history.

This year, Guest Services commemorated the national holiday by holding a luncheon at our very own Columbia Island Marina outside of Washington, DC. We also used this date as a platform to launch our new African American Employee Resource Group.

“It was a momentous occasion for Guest Services as we continue to live up to our 2022 pledge of expanding our DEI programs. We remain committed to having these important conversations, providing the necessary resources our team members need to thrive, and recognizing significant cultural events,” said Lajuana Warren, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Event attendees included Nico Foris, Chief Executive Officer; Dan Stoltzfus, Chief Financial Officer; Rick Wayland, Vice President of Operations; Jeff Ritter, Senior Director of Corporate Compliance; Jennifer Gafford, Director of Human Resources; Bill Briggs, Director of Safety & Security; as well as Guest Services team members from all over the area.

Thank you to all those who were involved in putting together the event and to those who attended. We look forward to our next celebration!

African American Heritage Month

“There Is No American History Without African American History,”

– Sara Clarke Kaplan, executive director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, D.C.

Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”

On September 9, 1915, Carter G. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which later became the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), with a mission to celebrate and record Black History. From the creation of the ASALH, Woodson went on to conceptualize a specific week of the year designated to celebrate and teach Black History in schools.

What began as “National Negro History Week” in 1926, has since evolved into the internationally celebrated Black History Month that communities around the world recognize and actively participate in.

Carter G. Woodson Bio
Woodson was an African American writer and historian. He penned the influential book ‘The Mis-Education of the Negro’; lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution; received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago before going on to receive a doctorate from Harvard in 1912.

Why February?

February was chosen primarily because the second week of the month coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, leaders widely admired by the African American community.

National Recognition

As Woodson’s original idea for the “Negro History Week” grew in acceptance, it eventually gained a national stage along with the civil rights movement in the late 1960s. President Gerald Ford was the first president to officially recognize Black History Month and did so in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes. It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America,”  – President Barack Obama.

This Year’s Theme Is Black Health and Wellness

ASALH designates a new theme for Black History Month each year, in keeping with the tradition Woodson established. This year’s timely theme is Black Health and Wellness to celebrate those who have made such a heroic difference during COVID, but also to amplify injustices when it comes to Black representation in the medical field as well as disproportionate infection rates in minority communities compared to white.

How Are You Celebrating?

We want to hear what you’re doing to celebrate African American Heritage Month. Let us know your stories by reaching out to LaJuana at