The right to vote is one of the most valuable, and many would argue even sacred, constitutional rights granted to most Americans.  For almost 50 years that right was protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA).  Yet in its 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a key provision of the VRA, leaving potentially millions of Americans unprotected.

Congress has the ability, and some might say the obligation, to fix the 1965 VRA and make it stronger and more protective than it was.  Please read the Action Alert and urge your Senators and Representative to support S. 1659 and H.R. 2867, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, and make it a priority.

Posted October 3, 2015

Save the Date!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, December 3, 2015 and make plans to attend the 2015 Human Rights Symposium at the U of M Continuing Education and Conference Center.

Don’t miss this all-day event covering the latest in employment, public policy, criminal justice, pay equity and more!

The Department of Human Rights will host its popular Human Rights Symposium during Minnesota Human Rights Week with a full-day symposium providing relevant information on the latest trends and legal decisions that impact you and your work. The HR Symposium will include breakout sessions, extended networking activities and key issues for:

Attorneys, employers, human resource professionals, diversity advocates interested in:

•           The latest on Equal Pay and wage equity

•           Pregnancy Accomodations

•           Diversity and Inclusion strategies

•           Civic Engagement

•           Voting Rights – 50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965

•           Disability and Employment

•           Employment law updates

•           Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and more

Posted August 6, 2015


From History to Fate: Protecting the Rights of All Citizens Conference, is a one day continuing education conference, being held on Monday, June 29th, sponsored by the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, focusing on the historical context and current national debate surrounding protecting the rights of all citizens. Leaders active in the field of civil right protection and promotion will engage in dialogue on protection of human rights in the United States on topics such as:

  • Civil Rights
  • Voting Rights
  • Policing vs. Police Profiling
  • LGBT
  • Immigration


The Civil Rights Movement is one of the most significant sources of social change in the United States during the 20th Century. This conference will address the historical and contextual considerations underlying the current national values and debate surrounding protecting the rights of all citizens.

The conference was approved for a total of 6.75 hour(s) of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits by Louisiana Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.

Posted June 4, 2015


New York State Division of Human Rights Launches Fair Housing Public Education Campaign

Press Release

New York State Division of Human Rights Commissioner Helen Diane Foster announced the launching of a public information campaign designed to educate the public about their housing rights under the State’s Human Rights Law. 

“To use a person’s national origin, sexual orientation, or familial status as criteria to deny housing is not only morally reprehensible but against the law in the State of New York,” said Commissioner Foster. “Unfortunately people who have limited English proficiency are especially vulnerable to this type of abuse. We want to ensure they are aware of their rights and that the Division is here to enforce the Law.” 

The campaign Fair Housing for All – 2015, funded by a grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, includes five advertisements depicting different forms of housing discrimination in the six most spoken languages other than English in New York State: Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian and Spanish. The ads will run in newspapers, mass transit, commuter trains and radio.

As part of the campaign launch, the Division is hosting a panel discussion on pressing fair housing issues such as housing rights for people with disabilities and legislation to protect women and families from housing discrimination. In addition, there will be a presentation regarding the newly created joint enforcement Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, a multiagency effort aimed at investigating and bringing enforcement actions against landlords who harass tenants. For more information about the campaign visit the Division website at

New York has the proud distinct ion of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law, which affords every citizen “an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.” The New York State Division of Human Rights is the agency in charge of enforcing this law, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and other jurisdictions, based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, military status, and other specified classes.

Posted May 5, 2015





The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will honor U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, outgoing Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office Laura Murphy, and retired Senator Bob Dole with the civil and human rights coalition’s highest honor at the 39th Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner. 

The Humphrey Award is presented annually to outstanding individuals who best exemplify Senator Humphrey’s selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality—an honor roll that, over the years, has included President Bill Clinton, Congressman John Lewis, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Sheila Bair, civil rights champion Dr. Dorothy Height, disability advocate Tammy Duckworth, and labor leader Dolores Huerta, among others. Last year’s honorees were Senator Tom Harkin, education reform advocate Randi Weingarten, and labor leader Eliseo Medina.

“All of us who value equality and freedom can be inspired by these strong voices of inclusion and champions of social justice,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “In the spirit of our award's namesake, our honorees have answered Senator Humphrey's exhortation to embrace civil rights for all Americans and to ‘walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.’”

Ticket and sponsorship information are available at

What: The 39th Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner honoring the Honorable Eric Holder, Laura Murphy, and Senator Bob Dole.

When: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - Reception at 5:00 p.m. - Dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. 


2015 National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) Annual Conference

On Friday, March 27th, at the 2015 NCRC Annual Conference, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP, delivered a compelling speech in support of the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. Attorney General. Rev. Dr. Barber called on NCRC members to act, and to encourage others to act, to urge Congress to confirm Loretta Lynch's appointment.

“We thank Rev. Dr. Barber for his astounding address at the NCRC conference. NCRC believes Loretta Lynch is highly qualified to serve as Attorney General and we urge her swift confirmation,” said NCRC’s President and CEO John Taylor. “We also join Rev. Dr. Barber in his call for Congress to take action to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength.”

Watch this video to hear Rev. Dr. Barber's case statement on why Loretta Lynch should be confirmed as Attorney General.

 Posted March 28, 2015


2015 Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour Mark Your Calendar. 2016 Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour, April 6 - 11, 2015 . This fun filled and educational tour travels south to visit the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement. The tour will retrace the Freedom Trail to learn about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks & the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Voters Rights and other significant events of the Civil Rights Movement. 

You dont't have to be a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland to participate in this amazing adventure. The Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour was modeled from the idea of the Civil Rights Heritage Tour initiated from the work of the Raleigh North Carolina Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Bruce Lightner the Committee Founder. Click here for more information!

Posted January 5, 2015


The Civic Federation and Motorola Solutions Foundation announces the 2014 Excellence in Rocco J. ClapsPublic Service honoree, Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Mr. Claps is a former officer and prominent member of IAOHRA. Read press release here.