Galen D.Kirland Elected 2nd Vice President of IAOHRA


Galen D. Kirkland, Commissioner New York State Human Rights DivisionGalen D. Kirkland is an attorney with extensive experience in state government and civil rights issues, who has served in a variety of legal and policy positions. 

In May 2008, Governor David A. Paterson appointed Mr. Kirkland to serve as Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights, the State Agency responsible for enforcing the State’s anti-discrimination Law.  As the Commissioner, Mr. Kirkland is responsible for developing, managing, and executing strategies to prosecute systematic forms of discrimination through investigations and complaints initiated by the Division or by individual complainants, and for developing policies and legislation to advance the civil rights of all New Yorkers.  

Prior to joining the Division, Mr. Kirkland served as Director of Program Development at the New York State Office of the Attorney General, where he also served as First Deputy Director of Policy Development during his eight year tenure at that Agency.

He previously served as the Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York,
overseeing educational advocacy programs on behalf of students in the New York City public schools.

From 1989 to 1990, Mr. Kirkland was the Executive Director of the New York City Civil Rights Coalition, a multiracial organization of civil rights, religious, and community groups, where he formulated responses to bias-related violence and organized multiracial coalitions in certain neighborhoods. From 1978 to 1988 Mr. Kirkland served as the Vice President and General Counsel of the West Harlem Community Organization, Inc., where he developed low-income housing and promoted economic development.  During this time, he was also President of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Developers, President of the Task Force on City-Owned Property, and member of the Board of Directors of Community Training and Resource Center. He started his legal career as an associate at Cowan, Liebowitz and Latman in New York City.  

Mr. Kirkland holds a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College.