There is hereby created a civil rights commission composed of seven (7) members, not more than four (4) of whom shall be members of the same political party, to be appointed by the governor. In making such appointments, the governor shall take into consideration all interests in the community including but not limited to the interests of minority groups, employers, labor, and the public.
Alpha Blackburn is a national award winning designer, a distinguished civic leader and a former television talk show host. She currently serves as Chairperson of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and President and CEO of Blackburn Architects. Ms. Blackburn's honors and accomplishments include being the recipient of the 1992 Prodigy of Indianapolis Award for outstanding commitment to nonprofit organizations and charitable causes, and the recipient of the 1983 Harvey's Bristol Cream Tribute to the Black Designer. She was chosen as One of Five Indiana "Renaissance Women" by the Julian Center for Contributions to the Arts of Indiana; she was the subject of Hoosier Profile by Greg Todd of WRTV, Channel 6, and of "Women at the Top" by Debbie Knox of WISH-TV, Channel 8; and, she has designed performing uniforms for both the Indiana Pacers and the Indianapolis Colts. She is the 1997 recipient of the Master Scholars Humanitarian Award and serves as Chairman of the Board of Healthnet Foundation. Ms. Blackburn is a graduate of Howard University and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is President of Alpha, Inc.-Designer Products.
Sheryl Edwards has a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. She is very active and involved in her community where she currently serves on the boards of the Charles C. Anderson American Legion Post 148, Martin Luther King, Jr. Club, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Eta Upsilon Zeta Chapter. Former board service includes NAACP Branch #3049, Indiana Affirmative Action Association (INAAA), Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals, Limberlost Girl Scouts, American Red Cross Northeast Indiana, Boys & Girls Club and others. Ms. Edwards was also the former chairperson of the Mayor’s Diversity Advisory Council.Ms. Edwards retired from Indiana Michigan Power in Fort Wayne after many years of service and held several management positions in Human Resources and received the Senior Professional in Human Resources designation. She is a graduate of Leadership Fort Wayne, Management Development Program at Ohio State University and the Sergeants Major Academy.Ms. Edwards retired from the military serving 20 years. She held numerous positions of increased responsibility and her last position was Command Sergeant of the 337th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. She was the first African American female from the State of Indiana to be appointed to this position. Ms. Edwards has received numerous awards and commendations for her performance and service.
Kent Hull is chair of the Indiana Lawyers Committee, which provides representation and research in a series of public interest and poverty law matters, including litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and is admitted to practice in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. He is also a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and has appeared in federal appellate and district courts throughout the United States. He has litigated issues of housing discrimination, consumer protection and disability rights in federal and state courts, at both the trial and appellate levels. He is a frequent speaker in continuing education programs for lawyers. Mr. Hull's articles have appeared in law journals and other professional publications. At Notre Dame Law School, as an adjunct associate professor, he teaches the course on Law and Disabilities and supervises selected directed reading projects. He was appointed to the Commission on March 31, 2015.
Dr. Michelle McKeown serves as the General Counsel to the Indiana Charter School Board and previously served as the General Counsel to the Indiana State Board of Education. She received her B.A. from DePauw University (2003) and J.D. from Indiana University-Bloomington Maurer School of Law (2006). After completing a judicial clerkship and working in private practice in Kentucky, she returned to Indiana University and earned her Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy from Indiana University, for which Joseph C. Beckham Dissertation of the Year Award from the Education Law Association. Dr. McKeown has published law review articles and book chapters on topics that include constitutional litigation as well as education law and policy matters, and she has been an invited speaker at both local and national conferences on education law issues and trends. Dr. McKeown was appointed by Governor Mike Pence to serve on as a commissioner on December 31, 2014.
Steven Ramos is a senior corporate executive with specific skills in strategy, transformation, business growth and technology. As an IBM corporation executive Mr. Ramos held numerous management and leadership positions in worldwide strategy, sales support and customer relationship management. Most recently Mr. Ramos was the World Wide Business Transformation Executive at IBM Global Headquarters. Following his passion to help in American education Mr. Ramos became the Interim CEO for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs followed by the CEO for the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. Currently he is the CEO for Imagine and Discover a new start up in early childhood education. Mr. Ramos actively serves on numerous Boards in Indiana and across America. Mr. Ramos completed his undergraduate degree in 1978 from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and received his MBA in 1998, from the University of Illinois Executive MBA program. Mr. Ramos was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels to serve as Indiana Civil Rights Commissioner on August 10, 2005.
Suzanne Robinson Gaidoo is a Director at Lewis & Kappes, P.C. Suzanne, a life-long resident of the Indianapolis area, focuses her practice in three different areas. She represents non-profit organizations ranging from start-up entities to well established organizations. Ms. Gaidoo is specialized in representing the various needs of non-profit organizations and currently serves as General Counsel to numerous tax-exempt organizations. Ms. Gaidoo counsels clients with advice and assistance in all aspects of non-profit law, including incorporation of non-profit entities, applications for recognition of exemption, governance, corporate compliance and other regulatory matters. Within this area Ms. Gaidoo is especially versed in religious law and the representation of churches and religious organizations. Ms. Gaidoo also practices in the field of business and corporate law. She has represented businesses in a variety of contract negotiations, corporate compliance and policy development, commercial disputes and insurance companies regarding exposure to toxic torts. Ms. Gaidoo’s third area of practice is health care. She regularly represents Federally Qualified Health Centers, community based health care providers, primary health care associations, private physician practices and specialized physician groups. Ms. Gaidoo received her B.S. in Criminology from Indiana State University and her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Ahmed Young is an associate in the Litigation Group and the Education Law Group of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Mr. Young assists law firm clients in commercial litigation and professional licensing issues. As a former deputy prosecutor for the Marion County (Indiana) Prosecutor’s Office, he has in-depth experience in bench and jury trials, as well as managing large caseloads, handling due diligence and conducting depositions. While in law school, Mr. Young interned for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. In addition, Mr. Young draws upon this experience as an educator to serve the firm’s K-12 and university clients. Prior to attending law school, he taught at Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis and in the New York City Public Schools. Mr. Young also is a member of the Strategic Advisory Services Group of Bose Public Affairs Group LLC, where he is a second vice president. Mr. Young uses his experience in politics and public policy to benefit clients seeking to enhance their public affairs activities or develop short and long-range tactics for growth. Mr. Young was appointed by Governor Mike Pence to serve on as a commissioner on December 31, 2014.