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CROWN: August 2021 - Commission Votes to Make Interim Director Johnson Permanent

On Monday, July 26, 2021, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission convened their regular bi-monthly meeting virtually, where they finalized the selection of the MDCR Executive Director and honored the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After a recommendation from the Personnel Committee, the Commission voted 8-0 to name Interim Director John E. Johnson Jr. as the permanent Executive Director for MDCR. Chair Clayton congratulated Director Johnson and reminded him that a delay is not a denial and that commitment and passion can bring about desired results.  She also noted that it was the first time this Commission voted unanimously in support of a candidate for Executive Director.

The Education Equity Committee report affirmed the Commission's position that  literacy is a civil right. It then went further to say that equity in education cannot be attained until the literacy gap statewide is addressed. The Committee recommended that the MCRC continue its efforts to advocate for grade level literacy and hear from subject matter experts and stakeholders from across the state this fall. Additionally, it recommended adding literacy-related resources to the MDCR website.  

In recognition of the ADA's 31st Anniversary, the Commission invited the following speakers to discuss what they are doing to support people with disabilities:

  • Tobi Voigt, Director of Community Engagement for the State of Michigan History Center under the Department of Natural Resources , shared details of a newly implemented conversation-based pilot program that pairs past and present state officials with leaders in Michigan's Disability Community.

  • Lesley Keyton, co-lead for the Economic Stability Administration Unit within the State's Health and Human Services Department, provided background information on the function of the Unit, as well as discussed a labor-intensive project that oversees an entire department-wide scan for ADA.  This project ensures that all state departments are in full compliance with the ADA with regards to policy and accessibility.

  • Christopher Samp, Director of the City of Detroit Office of Disability Affairs, provided an overview of the Office, newly implemented in 2021. He also discussed the recent launch of the City's first-ever strategic plan to significantly improve access and service to the Disability Community.  The strategic plan is a three-year commitment to improving accessibility in Detroit with a focus on housing, employment, transportation, and digital access.

  • Deputy Director Kim Woolridge also spoke about the 31st anniversary of the ADA.

Commissioners also voted to approve three resolutions at the July 26 meeting:

The Commission will next meet on Monday, September 27, 2021.