Meet the New Michigan Department of Civil Rights Executive Director John E. Johnson Jr.

John E. Johnson talks about his vision for the MDCR and about how we can better protect ourselves and our neighbors from discrimination.

For Michigan leaders and policymakers, discrimination and inequality are difficult matters to resolve. Even when laws and constitutional protections exist against discrimination or unfair treatment, it’s the enforcement of those laws that determines whether certain groups are treated fairly. In Michigan, the agency that’s in charge of enforcing anti-discrimination laws is the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). 

“I’ve been involved in civil rights work since the ’90s through the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and also through our Michigan State Conference NAACP … Those combined skills, along with community work, puts me in a position to lead this magnificent staff that is both committed and dedicated to the work of enforcing civil rights.” — John E. Johnson, MDCR Executive Director

On May 24, John E. Johnson was appointed the new director of the MDCR by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.


Listen: John E. Johnson discusses how, under his leadership, the MDCR is enforcing anti-discrimination laws.


Guest

John E. Johnson is the Executive Director of the MDCR. 

Johnson says that the MDCR has three primary functions: enforcement, engagement and education. “The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is the law enforcement agency for civil rights violations in the state established by the state constitution. We are engaged in that fight against discrimination through a number of vehicles,” he says, “One is certainly through enforcement efforts. Citizens who feel they have been the victim of discrimination — being by race, national origin, religion, marital status, sex, height, weight, disability, arrest record, prisoners — can file a complaint with the agency … our effort is to receive those complaints and investigate them.”

Johnson has extensive experience working as a public servant. He explains, “I’ve been involved in civil rights work since the ’90s through the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and also through our Michigan State Conference NAACP … It’s been something that’s been part of my passion and desire for most of my legal career … Those combined skills, along with community work, puts me in a position to lead this magnificent staff that is both committed and dedicated to the work of enforcing civil rights.”

Web story written by Molly Ryan

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