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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Events in Northwest Lower Michigan

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) and the Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) today celebrated their 50th anniversary at a breakfast with community leaders in Cadillac, followed by a community dialogue hosted by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs.

On April 1, 1963, Michigan voters approved a new Constitution - the first Constitution in the United States to create a Civil Rights Commission charged with securing equal protection without discrimination. Shortly thereafter, MDCR opened its doors as the staff support for the Commission's activities.

"50 years ago Michigan set a new standard for civil rights protections, becoming the first state to create a Civil Rights Commission in its Constitution," said Dr. Daniel H. Krichbaum, MDCR Director. "The Commission and the Department work each day to live up to that legacy and ensure that every person can live, work and play free from discrimination." The two events in northwest lower Michigan kicked off a regional discussion to explore ways MDCR can better partner with civic, business, educational and non-profit leaders to address local civil rights issues now and in the coming decade. MDCR staff shared information on a variety of departmental resources available to help area communities prevent and resolve civil rights issues before and after they arise.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the MCRC, Commissioners and MDCR staff have taken to the road in a year-long tour visiting communities across the state. Events will showcase MDCR services and provide an opportunity for department staff to meet with community leaders and citizens on a wide range of topics.

"Despite the upheaval going on throughout the nation at the time, the leaders who came together at the Constitutional Convention made a clear statement that Michigan is committed to protecting the rights of all people, no matter their race, religion or ethnicity," said Krichbaum. "And in the years since, Michigan has made an even stronger commitment to protect against discrimination based on gender, age and disability."