By Toni Newborn – Interim Assistant Director, Complaint Investigations Division
While the month of December in the city of Minneapolis is typically filled with holiday plans, shopping, and travels, for the Department of Civil Rights, December has been a time of transition and new beginnings. Friday December 13, 2013, marked the last official city council meeting of the year and the council voted to appoint seven Minneapolis residents to serve on the Commission on Civil Rights. The seven new commissioners include:
- Bernadette Casey (reappointment Ward 13)
- Adosh Unni (reappointment Ward 2)
- Liban Abdulkadir ( Ward 9)
- Iris Altamirano ( (Ward 1)
- Laura Baldwin (Ward 8)
- Donald Joseph (Ward 7)
- Reanne Viken (Ward 1)
These appointments followed a public hearing on December 11, 2013 in which five of the commission candidates expressed to the Public Health, Safety, and Civil Rights committee their desire and interest in serving on the Commission.
After the public hearing, committee members including Council members Barb Johnson (Council President), Don Samuels (Committee Chair), Betsey Hodges (Mayor Elect), Diane Hofstede, and Cam Gordon voiced their admiration and appreciation to the candidates for their willingness to serve on the Commission.
The Commission is a 21 member body comprised of Minneapolis residents whose primary purpose is to implement, promote and protect the civil rights of the citizens of Minneapolis.
Monday, December 16, 2013, also marked a second special day for the Civil Rights Department. The Commission on Civil Rights elected Michael P. Harralson (Ward 8) to serve as its chair. Michael, who is an administrative law judge for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, follows two years of service by Emily Froehle.
2014 is shaping out to be a great year with new leadership from the Council, the Commission, and Commission leadership.