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Civil Rights Commission Meets in Kalamazoo, Passes Four Resolutions on Emerging Civil Rights Issues

Lansing, MI—On Monday, April 29, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (the Commission) met in Kalamazoo and passed four separate resolutions on critical civil rights issues facing the state. The Commission passed resolutions:

- condemning the Great Replacement Theory;
- calling for a transparent, research-based approach in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in policing;
- supporting a ban on the gay panic defense; and
- calling for legislation facilitating the selection and declaration of gender identity.

“The resolutions passed by the Commission today show the breadth and scope of our commitment to protecting the civil rights of the people of Michigan,” said Gloria Lara, Chair of the Commission. “The Commission, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, will continue our work with Governor Whitmer, state legislators, and community leaders to ensure that these issues are addressed at the highest levels.”

The first resolution passed condemns the “Great Replacement Theory”, saying that “. . . the promotion of racist narratives, beliefs and value systems as embodied in the ‘Great Replacement Theory’ only serves to fuel intolerance, generate fear and aggression, instigate acts of violence against people of color and impair the ability to implement rational immigration policy.” The Commission went on to condemn ". . . the promotion and celebration. . . ” of the theory, and “…supports and encourages responsible executive and legislative efforts intended to challenge the endorsement and capitulation to this theory. . . and directs the Michigan Department of Civil Rights . . . to provide legislative officials and executive departments and officials with any advice or pertinent information within its control which may assist in addressing this issue . . .”

The resolution calling for transparency and a research-based approach in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in policing says in part, “. . . there is a well-recognized, thoroughly researched . . . and statistically significant amount of data evidencing bias, discrimination, and racial disparity in law enforcement as it relates to people of color. . .” The Michigan Civil Rights Commission “. . . recommends transparency and a socially responsible, bias free, research-based approach in the use of Artificial Intelligence in policing and encourages the Governor to convene a Taskforce on Artificial Intelligence in Policing and establish a permanent Commission on Artificial Intelligence.” The resolution also calls for the Michigan Attorney General to employ resources to protect the interests of Michigan citizens who may be impacted by artificial intelligence in policing.

The Commission resolution calling for a ban on the gay panic defense, says “. . . the right of LGBTQ+ citizens to enjoy the same rights and privileges as other citizens of Michigan and to feel safe and secure in their person is of paramount importance. . .” and “. . . the ‘gay panic defense’ has been used to excuse the most heinous crimes and reduce charges for crimes of violence committed against LGBTQ+ individuals. . . The Michigan Civil Rights Commission supports legislative efforts to ban the ‘gay panic defense’ including House Bill 4718, and executive and judicial actions directed at eliminating this pernicious practice, in addition to responsible organized efforts to expose its detrimental impact . . .”

A resolution in support of legislation facilitating the selection and declaration of gender identity says that “ . . . the citizens of the State of Michigan have, through the expansion of the Elliott- Larsen Civil Rights Act, affirmatively recognized and protected multiple expression of gender identity and sexual orientation . . . ” and “ . . . the Commission hereby supports and recommends passage of . . . legislation and that it be signed into law, and commends the Michigan legislature to the continued vigilant protection, facilitation, and expansion of civil rights for the citizens of Michigan.”

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

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