MINNEAPOLIS COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS

Commission Meeting MINUTES of Monday, July 16, 2012

Minneapolis City Hall, Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference Room – 241

350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

 

Commissioners in Attendance:  Marla Kahn, Michael McHugh, Patricia Nelson, Terrance Noble, John Oberreuter, Wendy Adler-Robinson, Emily Froehle, Kenneth Fukuda, Thomas Gallagher, Michelle Monteiro, Christine Peters, Jennifer Thompson, Adosh Unni, Danielle Shelton-Walczak

 

Commissioners Absent:  Bernadette Casey, Cecelia Rodriguez-Melendez, Lonnie Nichols

 

City Staff:  Lee Zutz, Toni Newborn, City Attorney Carol Bachun, and Johnnie Burns.

 

Guests:  None

 

Chair Froehle moves approval of the meeting agenda; Commissioner Unni moves to have a discussion item related to a Minnesota United for All Families Fundraiser added to the agenda; agenda with amendment approved by consensus; no objections.

 

Approval of June 18, 2012 MCCR minutes; moved by Chair Froehle; approved by consensus with Commissioners McHugh, Shelton-Walczak, and Unni abstaining.

 

MCCR Liason Lee Zutz provides report on Probable Cause (PC), No Probable Cause (NPC) and Dismissal, indicating that as of July 16, 2012, there are 84 cases pending resolution with the Department.  Of the 84 cases, there were 62 in the 0-6 months, 18 in the 7-12 months, and 4 in the 13+ months.  There are 8 cases currently under review by the Commission and the next Commission appeals panel review is scheduled for the week of July 23, 2012.

 

Ms. Zutz also reports on the Department’s and Commission’s involvement in the Pride Festival.  Surveys were conducted.  Results revealed that of the people surveyed:

·         152 felt that they had been discriminated against; 43 did not.  When asked on what basis, the predominate reason given was sexual orientation.

·         109 were not aware that the City has a civil rights department to investigate discrimination claims.

·         126 were not aware that the Minneapolis civil rights ordinance has protection for gender identification claims.

·         142 were not aware of the MCCR.

 

Toni Newborn added to Ms. Zutz’s presentation by noting that an EEOC case was issued analyzing gender identification claims under the existing legal framework, even though gender identification is not specifically called out as protected.

 

Ms. Zutz advised that the next public outreach event for the Department and the Commission is on August 24 at the Urban League Family Day.  Commissioners are encouraged to attend.

 

Commission on Civil Rights Committee Reports:

 

Contract Compliance – Commissioner McHugh reports that contract numbers are still in the process of being generated by the Department.  He also reported that he will be presenting on a panel of minority business owners at the Urban League on August 16 at 8:30 am to discuss workforce issues.

 

Standards & Procedures – Commissioner Nelson reports that S&P did not meet in July.  The committee next meets on August 13 at 5:30 pm.  Ms. Zutz asked that the committee review and comment on the Pre-Hearing Statement form and advised that there is a PC case that will be making its way to the Commission.

 

Public Relations & Education – Commissioner Kahn discusses the full Commission vote to be taken tonight on the MLK Community Member Award.  Commissioner Kahn proposes that the winner would be presented the award at an upcoming City Council meeting and that a light reception would be held.  All nominees would be invited.  The vote is between Jacob Frey and Project 515.  The vote was held by ballot.  The vote was 8 for Jacob Frey and 4 for Project 515.  Jacob Frey is the recipient.  The Commission extended its thanks to the PR&E committee for all of its work on this award.

 

League of Minnesota Human Rights:  Commissioner Nelson reports that the essay contest topic has been selected:  “As a member of your community, what responsibility do you have to protect human rights in your community?  How can you make a change in your community?  Reference the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United States Bill of Rights or the Minnesota Human Rights Act.”  Nelson provided a hand-out on the topic.  Nelson also advised that the League meetings are usually closed, but that the October 27 meeting is being held in Minneapolis and that others may attend by invitation.  If you wish to attend, you should let Commissioner Nelson know.  Commissioner Nelson reports that she was elected Treasurer of the League.

 

Commission Chair Report:  Chair Froehle reports that the Executive Committee discussed the idea of the MCCR holding an annual symposium.  Commissioners Nelson and Gallagher had put together the first working ideas regarding the Symposium and presented a written proposal to the Commission.  Chair Froehle and Commissioners Nelson and Gallagher report that the idea would be to host a smaller scale symposium this year (in October) and then prepare for a larger, longer (perhaps day long) symposium next year.  The first symposium would be open to the public and would be tailored to fit with the Commission’s regular monthly meeting in October.  A sign-up for a Symposium Planning Working Group was circulated.  Commissioners Oberreuter, Peters, Fukuda, Monteiro, and Chair Froehle signed up to work with Commissioners Nelson and Gallagher. 

 

Chair Froehle also invited all commissioners to attend the monthly Executive Committee meetings.

 

Commissioner Unni presented his idea of the Commission sponsoring a Minnesotans United for All Families fundraiser.  Unni believes that a fundraiser would be a good extension of the Commission’s outreach efforts and would raise visibility for the Commission.  Unni’s idea is to invite commissioners, department staff, City officials (mayor and council-members), and Commissioner Unni’s well-known former constitutional law professor, as well as friends and other guests.  The fundraiser would be a social gathering where some people would provide testimonials, with the purpose to receive donations to Minnesotans United for All Families.  City Attorney Carol Bachun reports that the City has a policy for raising money for charities.  Commissioner Monteiro inquired whether it would be permissible for the Commission to host a fundraiser like this.  City Attorney Carol Bachun is going to check on this.

 

Commissioner McHugh moved that Commissioner Unni work with the City Attorney’s office to come to a conclusion of the legality and process for sponsoring a fundraiser regarding the marriage amendment, as well as give Commissioner Unni authority to move forward with a conversation with Minnesotans United for All Families.  Second Commissioner Fukuda.  Motion passed unanimously with abstention from Commissioner Nelson.

 

City Attorney Carol Bachun will research the issue and be in contact with Commissioner Unni, Chair Froehle, and Vice-Chair Thompson.

 

Chair Froehle advised of the upcoming appeals schedule.

 

Public Comment:  None.

 

Adjournment moved by Commissioner Nelson; McHugh second; approved.

 

Last updated Sep 28, 2012