Partnerships strengthen civil rights protection

Indianapolis—The Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) reports partnership agreements with more than 30 local human rights agencies, community and faith-based organizations in fiscal year 2012. ICRC Executive Director Jamal L. Smith applauds the partnerships as a way to improve civil rights protection and provide better access to state and federal services to all Hoosiers.

“We’ve ironed out dozens of partnership agreements with organizations throughout the Hoosier state,” said Smith. “Each of these partnering organizations is active and visible in their community. These partnerships have allowed for state and federal services to better reach Hoosiers.”

A key objective in the ICRC’s 2010-13 Strategic Plan is to develop community partnerships statewide. This holistic approach to outreach and education provides at-risk and minority populations information and training on their civil rights and greater understanding and access to state and federal services.

“It’s important that every Hoosier be aware of their civil rights and protections afforded under anti-discrimination laws,” added Smith. “It is equally important that Hoosiers know what public services are available to them in their community.”

One important partnership is with the City of Terre Haute Human Relations Commission’s Executive Director, Jeff Lorick. Lorick, who also serves as the President of the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Commissions, echoed Smith’s sentiments.

“I truly value the partnership we have developed with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission,” said Lorick. “As we look to strengthen civil rights enforcement, it is necessary that local human rights groups and community organizations work with each other.”

As a result of their increased statewide outreach and education efforts, the ICRC has seen a steady increase in the amount of civil rights complaints, inquiries and training requests. This increase, coupled with the results from their statewide perception survey, points to discrimination remaining a serious issue.

For more information on the ICRC’s effort to strengthen civil rights protection and to see a copy of their 2010-13 Strategic Plan visit: or call (800) 628-2909.

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides quality education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana. For more information, contact Brad Meadows, ICRC Communications Manager, at (317) 501-4602.