Celebrating African American Month: Tribute to Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Celebrating African American Month: Tribute to Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The City of Gaithersburg, Maryland

Posted 2/1/2007

In celebration of African American History Month the City of Gaithersburg’s Multicultural Affairs Committee is honoring the work and accomplishments of Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a woman who continues to fight sexism and racism in the federal government.

Her story will be told at the February 5, 2007 Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council meeting, held at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 31 South Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg. Throughout the month of February a showcase of Dr. Coleman-Adebayo’s accomplishments will be exhibited at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 South Frederick Avenue. Viewing hours are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. Coleman-Adebayo fought against a backdrop of severe racial discrimination in her U.S. Federal Government workplace, when she blew the whistle on U.S. corporate wrongdoing in South Africa, where miners were being poisoned with vanadium. At the time, Dr. Coleman-Adebayo was chair of the Sustainable Development and Environment Expert Group for the National Summit on Africa, serving as the Executive Secretary for the U.S./South Africa Bi-National Commission. She was relentlessly persecuted, but nonetheless persevered, winning a landmark discrimination court case in 2000. She went on to spearhead the first civil rights legislation of the 21st Century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act in 2002.

While still an employee at EPA, Dr. Coleman-Adebayo founded the No FEAR Coalition and the 501(c)(3) No FEAR Institute. The coalition is comprised of civil rights and whistleblower organizations that fight for increased legislative protections for federal employees. The institute is devoted to educating the American public about federal sector discrimination and the implementation of the No FEAR Act. In addition to protecting victims of race and sex discrimination, the No FEAR Act also provides protection to employees who expose waste, fraud and abuse.

Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is currently writing a book about her experiences, and she is the inspiration for a movie now in development by actor/activist Danny Glover. She was named Good Housekeeping Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2003 and that same year was also named recipient of a federal sector civil rights award named in her honor.

For more information about the exhibit please contact the City’s Human Services division at 301-258-6395 or humanservices@gaithersburgmd.gov.

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