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John E. Johnson, Jr.

Executive Director

Attorney John. E. Johnson, Jr. currently serves as the Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC). MDCR fights discrimination by enforcing the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA), and other related Michigan discrimination and disability laws. He was appointed by the MCRC in June 2021, and oversees an annual budget of more than $31 million. MDCR has more than 125 employees, with offices in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.


Prior to joining MDCR, Johnson served in a number of leadership positions, including Executive Director of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus; Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit; Executive Director, General Counsel and 1st Vice President for the Detroit Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Deputy Executive Director and Chief Counsel for the Legal Aid and Defender Association; Deputy Executive Director for Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services; Managing Attorney for the UAW Legal Services Plans; Chairman of the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation; Chairman of the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority; President of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; and President of the Wolverine Bar Association.


Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University. He has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan for more than 44 years.


He is also a member of Fellowship Chapel United Church of Christ in Detroit, where he has served as Chairman of the Trustee Board since 2008, and has been a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. since 1996.


Director Johnson is married to retired State of Michigan 36th District Court Judge Izetta F. Bright. They have two daughters, Dia and Imara Bright-Johnson.