The Commission's Work
The Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission, known until 1970 as the Human Relations Commission, was created in 1957 by City Council under the leadership of Mayor Sam Eldersveld. It works to protect the human and civil rights of the people of Ann Arbor. Its nine members are Ann Arbor residents appointed for three-year terms by the Mayor and City Council.
Ann Arbor's human rights ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. No person may be denied his or her civil or political rights or be discriminated against because of actual or perceived age, arrest record, color, disability, educational association, familial status, family responsibilities, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, height, HIV status, marital status, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, veteran status, victim of domestic violence or stalking, or weight. (City of Ann Arbor Code, Chapter 112, Section 9:150; Ord. No.14-25, Sec. 1, 10-20-14).
The commission's responsibilities are to:
(a) Receive and review complaints from individuals alleging violations of Ann Arbor's human rights ordinance, Chapter 112 Non-Discrimination, and take appropriate action, including but not limited to referral of complaints to appropriate agencies or to the City Attorney, mediation of complaints, or dismissal of complaints;
(b) Report annually to City Council regarding complaints received and actions taken;
(c) With city staff, develop procedures to (1) enforce and (2) provide notice of non-compliance with nondiscrimination provisions of Chapter 112 Non-Discrimination applicable to city contractors;
(d) With city staff, provide an annual report to City Council regarding compliance of city contractors with nondiscrimination provisions of Chapter 112 Non-Discrimination;
(e) Investigate, study, hold hearings and make recommendations to City Council regarding complaints from any class or group protected under the human rights ordinance;
(f) Make periodic public reports and recommendations to the City Council and City Administrator on ways to improve city government programs and ordinances designed to eliminate discrimination or to remove the effects of past discrimination;
(g) Communicate with federal and state agencies regarding human rights and affirmative action programs for the purpose of making recommendations to City Council;
(h) Provide education and programs about the human rights ordinance, other commission initiatives, and/or to discourage and eliminate racial tensions, prejudice, and/or discrimination.
(Ord. No. 68-69, 1-19-70; Ord. No. 28-78, 6-19-78; Ord. No. 15-20, § 2, 9-8-15)
In addition, City Council may "delegate to the Human Rights Commission other powers and functions permitted by law concerning the protection of human rights." (Ord. No. 15-20, § 3, 9-8-15)
The commission has focused on a variety of topics over the years. Among them are these:
Reports and Resolutions
HRC Annual Reports
Human Rights Commission meetings are open to the public. They are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., usually in Basement Conference Room A and sometimes in City Council Chambers, at Larcom City Hall, located at 301 E. Huron St.
The commission welcomes and relies upon input from members of the community. If you would like to let the commission know that you are planning to attend a meeting or to find out what will be on the agenda, please e-mail HRC@a2gov.org. You are welcome to attend any meeting, speak to the commission during the public comment period, and provide written documents to the commission.
The commission adheres to these public comment period procedures, set forth in the commission’s by-laws:
(1) Members of the public who wish to speak must indicate their request on the sign-in sheet prior to the start of each meeting.
(2) The Chair shall give each member of the public five (5) minutes each to address the commission. The Chair may extend an individual’s speaking time in his/her discretion. Public comment on non-agenda items may be limited in the Chair’s discretion.
(3) Speakers shall be selected in the order they appear on the sign-in sheet.
(4) In order to assure that commission’s business can be carried out in a timely manner, if more than six members of the public sign up to speak, the Chair may limit the time of each speaker to less than five minutes to allow more comments. The Chair may also request that where multiple speakers wish to present the same viewpoint, that one person speak on behalf of that viewpoint.
(5) Members of the public shall demonstrate respect to one another and to the commissioners.
(6) Members of the public shall not participate in the commission meeting except during designated comment time and shall not interrupt other speakers.
(7) Following the public comment period, commissioners may ask speakers for brief clarifications. Commissioners may or may not choose to place topics raised on future agendas and, if so, may request the speaker to return as a guest speaker. A follow-up message may be sent to a speaker explaining any next steps.
(Human Rights Commission Bylaws, Article 7, Sec. 7.12)
Filing Discrimination Complaints with the Human Rights Commission
If you have questions about discrimination in Ann Arbor and/or believe your rights under the city's human rights ordinance have been violated, please complete and submit a Discrimination Complaint and/or Request for Information form (see links above), leave a voice message for the commission at 734-794-6141, or e-mail the commission at HRC@a2gov.org. Please provide your name and a phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached. One of the commissioners will contact you as soon as possible.
Filing Discrimination Complaints with State and Federal Agencies
There are also state and federal agencies where you may be able to file complaints if you believe your rights under state and/or federal civil rights laws have been violated. Here are some links that may be helpful:
Some Local Resources
Local organizations that may be able to help you resolve your civil rights related concerns include these:
LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor
The function of the
LGBTQ liaison to the Mayor is to be a resource for the public to elevate the concerns of the LGBTQ
community and ensure they are being heard. The Mayor appointed Bradley O’Furey, Jim Toy Center President, to serve in this volunteer position. Bradley can be reached at (734) 474-3935 or via email at email@example.com.
LGBTQ Liaison to the Ann Arbor Police Department
Sergeant Dawn Murphy has been appointed LGBTQ Liaison for the AAPD. She can be reached at (734) 794.6900 ext. 49112 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.