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Community Advocacy Organization

Michigan Civil Rights Commission Calls for Legislative and Executive Efforts to Address Hate Crimes

Graphic by Charity Treat

At their meeting in Marquette, Michigan today (7-24-2023), the Michigan Civil Rights Commission unanimously passed a resolution in support of executive and legislative action to address hate crimes. “No one should face harassment or violence because of the color of their skin, their faith, their disability or their gender,” said Commission Chair Portia Roberson. “As members of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, we hear far too often about hate crimes, bias incidents and acts of desecration and the damage they do to individuals and the communities where they live. We urge Michigan’s decision makers to take action to outlaw these acts of intimidation and violence motivated by hate.” Entitled “Resolution in Support of Executive and Legislative Efforts to Address Hate Crimes and Acts of Desecration,” the resolution reads in part: “…the security of civil rights within the State of Michigan may require appropriate laws that criminally outlaw and punish harmful behaviors and activities that perpetuate attitudes and beliefs that form the basis for discrimination against certain protected classifications identified in the Michigan Constitution and Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act…” The resolution also specifically addresses acts of desecration, saying: “Acts of desecration . . . that are motivated by hatred for and discrimination against classifications of individuals protected under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act should be responsibly addressed through appropriate executive and legislative action. . .” The resolution goes on to say that the State of Michigan “. . . has acknowledged the appropriateness of criminally penalizing certain harmful behaviors and actions perpetrated against citizens in certain protected classification, affirmatively protecting the right of citizens to be free from unlawful intimidation by making “[a] person...guilty of ethnic intimidation . . .” and resolves “. . . that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission supports and encourages executive and legislative efforts intended to deter, prohibit and where necessary criminally penalize actions and activities of hate crimes and desecration against appropriate classifications of individuals protected under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.” Read the complete text of the resolution here. Members of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission include:

  • Portia L. Roberson (D), Detroit, Chair

  • Zenna Faraj Elhasan (D), Dearborn, Vice Chair

  • Gloria E. Lara (I), Grand Rapids, Secretary

  • Richard Corriveau (D), Northville

  • David Worthams (R), Kalamazoo

  • Luke R. Londo (I) Hazel Park

  • Rosann L. Barker (D), Detroit

  • Regina Gasco Bentley (I), Petoskey

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

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