2017 NEWS & UPDATES
IAOHRA Holiday Campaign
This year, one of the most pivotal in the history of the U.S. and the world, we brought together human rights leaders from all over the country in 2017 in Seattle – one of our largest gatherings – under the theme of “Entering a New Era: Uniting to Protect and Promote Human Rights For All.”
But we can protect and promote human rights against the onslaught of attacks and threats only if we can make our networks wider, deeper, and stronger.
Please join, rejoin, make a special new year contribution to IAOHRA, or sponsor our 2018 Conference taking place on August 26-30, 2018. See letter for details.
Together we can ensure that human and civil rights are protected in this critical period to come!
Posted Dec 21, 2017
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) Executive Director Alvin O. Gillard Statement on Hate Group Activity To All Marylanders
Perhaps now as much as any time in our recent history we need to be bold in our commitment toward ensuring equity, opportunity, and inclusion for all people of our great state. The seeds of intolerance, exclusion, and indifference that have been planted over the past few years have now grown into acts of hate, violence, and open intimidation. A climate of acceptance of vile groups, including but not limited to the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and skinheads, is being promoted by attempting to cast them as legitimate alternative voices. Let’s be clear – these are not legitimate groups, these are not legitimate voices. They are the antithesis of everything we hope to be as a nation, as a state, and as a community.
We the staff of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights encourage all Marylanders to join us in fighting hate, unlawful discrimination, violence, and extremism in all of its forms. Whether through participating in a program offered by MCCR, or connecting with local efforts which promote acceptance and respect, or simply by seeking to build relationships with those of different religious, racial, and other backgrounds, each of us can do something positive and meaningful toward creating a more just and balanced community. Additionally, we have to directly repudiate hate, bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism at every turn and no matter its origins.
The vision of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights is to have a state that is free from any trace of unlawful discrimination. We can only realize this vision by working together with all Marylanders who share in it.
Posted Dec 5, 2017
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations has released the 2016 Hate Crime Report
Nearly a quarter of all hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County last year were based on sexual orientation, making gay men, lesbians and LGBT organizations the group most frequently targeted for the first time since 2002.
There were 118 reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2016, which is two less than the prior year, according to the Commission’s 2016 Hate Crime Report released Thursday. Eighty-one percent of these hate crimes were violent.
The total number of hate crimes reported in the county last year was 482, one less than 2015, when there was a 24 percent increase over 2014 and the highest total since 2011, according to the report. Read report here.
Posted Dec 29, 2017
Michigan Department of Civil Rights Issues Statement on Rollback of DACA
Statement from Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, on today's announcement that the federal government will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The federal action announced today to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will have a direct impact on thousands of individuals who live, work and study in Michigan. Not only will this change put people at risk of legal action and deportation, I am concerned that it will trigger an increase in hate crimes and bias incidents directed at these individuals – acts that are superficially aimed at their ‘legal status’ but are, in reality, based on race, ethnicity and national origin. Discrimination of this sort is in direct violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and the Department of Civil Rights is ready to investigate any act that violates the legally-protected civil rights of Michigan residents.”
Posted October 1, 2017
IAOHRA Awards Presented at the 2017 IAOHRA Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, September 24-28.
See recipients of the 2017 IAOHRA Awards. Categories include the Individual Achievement Award, The Bill Hale Award, and the Human Rights Award. See winners of these awards here.
Posted September 30, 2017
IAOHRA Releases Statement on the Tragic Events in Charlottesville, Virginian (PDF Version)
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to express our sadness and deep concern after the tragic events in Charlottesville, and to call to action -- against hate -- all of our member agencies. We extend our caring thoughts and prayers to the family of Heather Heyer, to the families of the State Police troopers who were killed in the helicopter crash, to those who were injured, both physically and emotionally, and to all who promoted peace in Charlottesville.
This has been another challenging week for our country. There is too much hate in America. President Trump has enabled and emboldened hate groups and has failed to condemn Neo-Nazi and White Supremacy groups, the beliefs they profess, and the violence they promote.
As a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, IAOHRA is committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the other 200 member organizations and with all of you, speaking out against hate and discrimination, speaking up in our communities, and taking specific action against hate groups so that they cannot make money and thrive.
IAOHRA member agencies play an important role in our states and communities, working closely with elected officials, chiefs of police, historic preservationists, communications professionals and even recreation and park officials. Let us as human rights officials seize the opportunities we have to offer our advice, hold hearings, promote constructive dialogue, anticipate events and social conditions that might lead to discrimination, and remove barriers to equality and full participation.
We have come too far, and too many have sacrificed too much, to let down our guard for a moment.
Posted August 17, 2017
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Planned Reports for Fiscal Years 2018 & 2019 Approved June 16, 2017 (PDF)
An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Obstacles in the United States
The Commission was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as an independent, bipartisan fact-finding federal agency, empowered to “investigate allegations in writing under oath or affirmation that certain citizens of the United States are being deprived of their right to vote…” Since its inception, the Commission has frequently examined the state of voting rights. Congress mandates the Commission to issue one annual statutory enforcement report; the Commission, by majority vote, selected this topic to be its 2018 report.
The 2016 Presidential Election was the first in 50 years without the full protections of Voting Rights Act (VRA) in place. The 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder eliminated longstanding protections of the VRA, clearing the way in many states for new voting measures, several of which were previously blocked or deterred due to their discriminatory effect or purpose. Since 2010, more than 20 states have implemented new measures that limit access to registration and voting. Our report will examine U.S. Department of Justice’s voting rights enforcement efforts following the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA, including the impact of the Shelby County decision, as well as the proliferation of restrictions on voter access. The Commission will provide findings and assess the need for recommendations regarding enforcement efforts and/or Congressional action to ensure voter access.
Efficacy of Federal Agency Civil Rights Enforcement
The Commission will conduct a comprehensive assessment of federal agency offices tasked with civil rights enforcement. The report will look at budget and funding, the efficiency of the office, and the efficacy of its enforcement efforts. Specifically, the report will examine the degree to which current budgets and staffing allow the offices to perform their statutory and regulatory functions; the management practices in place in the offices to determine whether these practices are sufficient to meet the volume of civil rights issues within the offices’ jurisdiction; and the efficacy of recent resolution efforts from the offices. The Commission unanimously selected this project to be its 2019 statutory enforcement report.
Responding to Hate Crimes at the Federal, State, and Local Levels
According to the FBI’s latest Hate Crimes Statistics report for 2015, overall hate incidents increased 6.7 percent and anti-Muslim hate crimes by 67 percent compared to 2014. Federal, state, and local governments play important roles in monitoring, reporting, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes. The Commission has decided to investigate three areas: (1) best practices for local law enforcement on collecting and reporting hate crimes data and overcome barriers to reporting from hate crimes victims; (2) prosecution of hate crimes and enforcement of hate crimes laws; and (3) the Department of Education’s role in preventing and responding to hate crimes.
The School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Intersection of Students of Color and Children with Disabilities
School discipline policies often have a disproportionate and negative impact on students of color and students with disabilities. The Commission will examine the “intersectionality” of school discipline policies for students who experience discrimination due to their race, their disability status, and their status as students of color with a disability.
A View from the States
The Commission will conduct a survey of all 51 of its State Advisory Committees (SACs) to determine which civil rights issues the SAC members consider most pressing and significant in their respective states. As the “eyes and ears” of the Commission, our SACs offer a unique ability to assess the state of civil rights around the country. Women in Prison The Commission will review conditions of confinement of incarcerated women in prison systems around the country. The Commission will address the ways prison systems, primarily designed for male inmates, are able to protect and care for female prisoners. Among other issues, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and have gender-specific health needs prisons do not always address. The Commission seeks to determine how the civil rights of incarcerated women can be upheld and protected.
Posted June 17, 2017
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Send Letter to President Expressing Concerns that the Civl Rights of all Americans are being drastically undermined. Read complete letter here.
Posted June 7, 2017
157 Civil and Human Rights Groups Call for Stronger Response to Hate Incidents
Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
WASHINGTON –The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 156 civil and human rights groups today called upon the Executive Branch to respond more quickly and forcefully to hate-based incidents, which have been occurring at an alarming rate in recent months. Read complete statement here.
Posted March 10, 2017
No Haters Here! Youth Human Relations Guidebook- Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations
The Los Angeles area has long been home to astonishing social diversity. Residents of all ages represent a mosaic of countless ethnicities, cultures and sub-cultures; language groups, economic classes, sexual orientations, religions, creeds, and faith expressions; past-times and interests; lifestyles; and abilities. While some eagerly embrace diversity, there are many others who actively resist at least some of its expressions. The resulting tensions characterize far too many of our communities and institutions, including our schools.
Conditions of substantial interpersonal and intergroup tension and conflict compromise our youths‟ sense of safety. In addition to this impact on emotional well-being, such an atmosphere can be a considerable detraction to academic achievement and social interaction. “NO HATERS HERE!” is one of the methods schools and youth organizations are using to address these conditions. The “NO HATERS HERE!” initiative also offers a way to help youth learn alternatives for responding to tension and conflict and a way to encourage their appreciation for diversity. Through “NO HATERS HERE!”, schools and youth organizations promote respect, affirmation human rights, and mobilize participants for peace.
The “NO HATERS HERE!” initiative was created by staff members of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. For nearly 70 years the Commission has been helping people replace prejudice and fear with respect and trust. The insecurity, inequity, and conflict that prejudice and fear produce are neither morally acceptable nor socially beneficial. So, the Commission helps people see the need for justice, adopt attitudes of mutual acceptance, and learn the art and science of collaborative relationship.
Click here to download No Haters Here! Youth Human Relations Guidebook
Posted March 1, 2017
IAOHRA Welcomes Mid West Regional Representative
Diane Clements-Boyd, IAOHRA Mid West Regional Representative. Diane Clements Boyd is the Executive Director of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission. Diane was appointed Executive Director of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission in January of 2004. Prior to joining the Human Relations Commission, she served as Program Manager at the Evansville Black Coalition, Inc., from 1995 to 2004.
Diane has been in the forefront of advancing social justice and advocacy efforts in the city of Evansville for over 20 years. In addition to being responsible for enforcing municipal civil rights laws, Diane is responsible for administering several advisory boards. In 2009, Diane worked with disability advocates to create the city’s first Advisory Board on Disability Services. The board provides guidance to the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County in matters concerning individuals with disabilities and offers a public forum for members of the community to raise issues of concern. Diane also advises the Evansville Commission on the Social Status of African Males. The mission is to create practical proposals and workable remedies in the areas of employment, education, health and criminal justice to reduce problems that African American males face. Diane advised city officials on the need for civil rights protections for the LGBT community. In 2011, the Evansville City Council passed an ordinance to include protections for LGBT individuals.
Diane serves in the following capacities. Chairperson of the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Immediate past president of the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies; Board of Trustees of the Vanderburgh Community Foundation and member of the Evansville Homelessness Advisory Committee. Diane received the 2011 Freedom Award from the State of Indiana Martin Luther King Commission, the 2009 Black Women’s Task Force Community Service Award, and the Evansville Chapter of the NAACP Lifetime Community Advocate Award. Diane is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and serves as social action chairperson of the Evansville Alumnae Chapter. Diane is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology.
Posted February 28, 2017