Michigan Civil Rights Commission Appoints Atty. John E. Johnson, Jr. Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Contact: Vicki Levengood levengoodv@michigan.gov

July 26, 2021

LANSING, MI-The Michigan Civil Rights Commission tonight voted unanimously to appoint Attorney John E. Johnson, Jr. as permanent Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The Commission appointed Johnson Interim Executive Director at their May 24 meeting.

At a special meeting held on June 28, 2021, the Personnel Committee recommended revisiting Johnson's appointment at the Commission's regular July 26 meeting. Tonight the Committee recommended that the Commission appoint Johnson permanent Executive Director of the department.

Prior to his appointment as Interim Executive Director, Johnson served as the department's Legislative Liaison and Special Advisor to the Commission. Johnson began his duties as Interim Director on Tuesday, June 2, 2021.

The decision to name an interim director was precipitated by the announcement on May 17 that MDCR Executive Director James E. White had accepted the position of Interim Chief of the Detroit Police Department. 

"The Commission extends our deep gratitude to John Johnson for agreeing to serve as Interim Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. We are confident that he will continue to provide exemplary leadership for the department as its permanent Director," said Commission Chair Stacie Clayton.

Before he was hired by MDCR, Johnson served as Executive Director of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, a position he held for seven years. Prior to his position with the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, he held several leadership positions, including Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit, General Counsel to the Detroit NAACP, Deputy Executive Director of Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services, and Hearing Officer for the Michigan Tax Tribunal. He also is a former Management Consultant with Legal Services Corporation of Washington D.C. and previous owner of a private law practice.

Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University. He has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan for more than 41 years and has been involved with the Detroit NAACP since 1992.

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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