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Michigan Department of Civil Rights to Hold Conference on Hate Crimes in East Lansing Sept. 14

Lansing, MI - On Thursday, Sept. 14 the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes (MIAAHC) will host MI Response to Hate, a statewide conference on hate crimes, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, 219 S. Harrison Rd, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824. The one-day conference, now in its 13th year, is the largest gathering of its kind in Michigan. The conference will begin at 8 am and adjourns at 3 pm. 

Members of the news media are invited to attend. 

The theme of this year’s conference is Legislating Against Hate and features prominent experts who will speak on current and potential future legislation at the state and federal level to combat hate crimes and bias incidents.

The conference will also commemorate the lives of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. and the passage of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 25 years after the brutal murders of the men for whom the act is named. 

Speakers include: 

Michael Lieberman – Senior Policy Counsel for Hate and Extremism, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
Dana Nessel – Michigan Attorney General 
Mark A. Totten – U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan 
Dawn N. Ison – U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan
Louvon Byrd Harris – sister of James Byrd, Jr.; founder of the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing.
Judy Shepard and Dennis Shepard – parents of Matthew Shepard; established the Matthew Shepard Foundation
Becky L. Monroe – Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives, California Civil Rights Department
Carla Chennault – Education Director, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Michigan
John E. Johnson, Jr. – Executive Director, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
Portia L. Roberson – Chair, Michigan Civil Rights Commission

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law.  For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to

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