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46th Annual Indiana Consortium Conference


The Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies is proud to present the 46th Annual Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies Conference from June 17-20, 2019, in Indianapolis, IN. The conference will span three days plus an opening reception on Monday, June 17, 2019 at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel. Conference sessions will have four focuses: civil rights investigation and training, law and policy, civil and human rights advocacy, and diversity and inclusion.

The 46th Annual Consortium Conference will bring together community leaders, state and federal agencies, lenders, housing professionals, policymakers, educators, and social service professionals to come together and learn about best practices, emerging issues, and relevant case law that furthers equal opportunity, civil rights, fair housing and diversity & inclusion for all.   

The conference plans to include keynote speakers, breakout sessions and draw hundreds of attendees locally and nationally. This year’s event, coinciding with Juneteenth, is a celebration of freedom, advancements in equality, and the fostering of diverse workplaces and communities in which all Hoosiers may thrive. In partnership with several local human relations agencies, and state agencies, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission will host this conference in Indianapolis--a midwestern hub for federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State's Indiana Civil Rights Commission and serves as the crossroads of America. Preliminary conference agenda available now! Take a peek at what we have in store!

Conference Agenda

Conference Day 1  Tuesday, June 18, 2019
8:00-9:00am Registration and Continental Breakfast

Opening Remarks 

Gregory L. Wilson, Sr., Executive Director, Indiana Civil Rights Commission

Tamie Dixon-Tatum, President, Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies


Plenary Session

State and Federal Hate Crimes Update: Kenith Bergeron, U.S. Department of Justice, Rima Shahid, Women4Change

PowerPoint Presentation

10:20-11:20am (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Anti-Harassment Training--A New Approach, Brien Shoemaker, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)   PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Harassment training generally consists of teaching respondents how to avoid liability from sexual harassment complaints. This is especially true in trainings designed for supervisors and managers. The EEOC’s 2015 Task Force on harassment in the workplace found that true prevention begins with management and focuses on teaching respondents how to create a respectful and civil workplace. This course will review the EEOC’s Task Force findings and give suggestions and ideas on how to create a culture of civility in your workplace.

Law and Policy Update: Employment Discrimination Legal Update, Alessandra Rosa, EEOC PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: The course will provide a summary of the 2018 7th Circuit Court’s rulings in relation to Title VII (sex discrimination, sexual harassment, employer liability), determination of who is an employer, disability, reasonable accommodations, and retaliation. After the course, the audience will have an updated grasp of how our district and circuit courts have resolved certain types of controversies and will provide them the understanding of the do’s and don’ts under these laws.

Diversity and Inclusion: Communicating Inclusion: A Marketer or PR Professional's Guide to Communicating Effectively, Tiffany Hanson, LUNA Language Services & Indy Pride, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Every human being has characteristics that do not define us, but that allows us to feel either disjointed from or connected to one another. People naturally feel comfortable with people that 1) they look like, 2) they already have a relationship with, or 3) they can communicated with. In this session, learn how to ensure that your marketing and public communications intentionally reaches all of the cultural communities of your potentially constituents by considering these three factors.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Caught in the Crosshairs: Immigration in 2019, Fatima Johnson, Law Firm of Fatima Johnson 

Course description: In this session, attendees will takeaway: the basics of immigration law, identifying the different ways to immigrate to the U.S., a discussion of the state of immigration today, including what rights immigrants have and don't have, and discuss the effects of immigration on other areas of law. 

11:20-11:30am Break
11:30am-12:30pm(1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Rent-to-Own and Resurgence of Discrimination, Amy Nelson, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: In this session, learn about how minority neighborhoods and persons of color are being targeted in "predatory and unlawful" rent-to-own contract schemes. Hear about how organizations are challenging sime companies' rent-to-own practices, alleging predatory lending, and civil rights violations.

Law and Policy Update: Housing Legal Update, Merilyn Brown, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Diversity and Inclusion: Implicit Bias Panel: State Cultural Commissions, MeLissa Williams, James Garrett, Aspen Clemons & Dolly Serrant, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Diversity, inclusion and cultural competency are the key to building the next future leaders. In this session, the State of Indiana Cultural Commission Directors provide an exclusive opportunity to discuss these topics from a unique perspective. The Cultural Commission Directors are, Dolly Serrant, Director of the Commission of Hispanic and Latino Affairs, James Garrett, Executive Director of the Black Males of Social Status and MeLissa Williams, Director of the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Environmental Justice as a Civil Rights Issue, Paula Brooks, Hoosier Environmental Council

Course description: Commonly referred to as the civil rights movement of the 21st century, the struggle for environmental justice is a grassroots, intergenerational global social justice movement led by communities of color. The environmental justice movement seeks to redress structural inequities in housing, land use, health care, education and transportation within a policy framework of "who gets what, why and how much." This course will examine the history of environmental justice as a civil rights issue, discuss effectiveness current policy prescriptions, including their effectiveness in achieving equity goals and provide a briefing on environmental issues justice statewide.


Keynote Luncheon 

Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt, United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana

2:00-3:00pm (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Tenant Habitability Issues in Indiana, Chase Haller, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic,

Course description: This course will evaluate statutory and common law landlord obligations in the state of Indiana as well as common legal issues encountered by tenants. Common issues include contractual waiver of tenant protections, difficulty proving certain damages relating to property conditions, rent withholding, and bedbug addendums. The course will also highlight areas of Indiana law wherein tenants currently lack protections and recommend common-sense policy solutions.

Law and Policy Update: Employment Law Hot Topic: Intersections of FMLA/ADA, Tom Crishon, Indiana Disability Rights 

Course description: Review the coverage, requirements, and protections of both the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the interplay between both laws.

Diversity and Inclusion: Disrupting Structural Barriers--Disability Etiquette in the Workplace, Gina Clevenger and Dustin Maynard, Pepsi Co. PowerPoint Presentation

Course description- Diversity and Inclusion are becoming more important in today’s workforce. Employers around the globe are working to ensure that inclusion is a focus of their company culture. However, companies need to be equipped to address and accommodate various communication styles along with recruitment and interview techniques. This presentation will cover communication strategies to accommodate those with disabilities as our workforce becomes more diverse. Gina Clevenger and Dustin Maynard will share their uncommon origins that produced a thriving, inclusive environment at the Indianapolis Gatorade under PepsiCo.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Health Policy as a Civil Rights Issue, Fran Quigley, Indiana University McKinney School of Law , PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: This session will outline the existing legal rights to healthcare access in our current law, how attorneys can and should ensure that those rights are protected, and how policy can develop to more vigorously define and guarantee the right to health.

3:00-3:15pm Break
3:15-4:15pm (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Public Accommodation Law: Who Let the Dogs in and did they have to? Doneisha Posey, Indiana Civil Rights Commission PowerPoint Presentation

Course Description: Review the similarities and differences with the federal law and state law pertaining to public accommodation and service animals. Participants will learn the differences between service animal, assistance animal, and emotional support animal and the requirements from the federal law and the state law.

Law and Policy Update: Social Media and its Impact on Employment Discrimination Claims, Amber Boyd, Amber Boyd Law

Course description: How is social media being used in employment discrimination claims and what do you need to know to properly advise your client regarding the usage of social media and how it could impact their employment litigation from the plaintiff/employee and defendant/employer perspectives.

Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity & Inclusion in Education: No Student Left Behind: Pennie Gregory, MSDWT; Dr. LaKendra Hardware, Goshen College; Frank Ross, Butler University

Course description: In this session, panelists will discuss the latest D & I strategies amongst educators and higher education professionals, and how they're addressing affirmative action, equality, and equal opportunity in 2019.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Juveline Defense Project, Amy Karozos & Joel Weineke, Indiana Public Defender Council, PowerPoint Presentation

Indiana data shows the impact of juvenile justice practice and policies on youth of color, who are disproportionately affected at most decision making points in the system.  Youth of color are more likely to be referred to the juvenile court, more likely to held in secure detention prior to adjudication, more likely to have a delinquency petition filed against them, and more likely to be committed to the Indiana Department of Correction than their white peers.  At the same time, they are less likely to receive a diversion and less likely to be given probation as a disposition.   The Indiana Public Defender Council’s juvenile defense project is a statewide initiative developed to improve Indiana’s juvenile defense delivery system.  Project attorneys will discuss breaking juvenile justice issues and issues in development, such as access to counsel, competency determinations, using punitive sanctions in response to mental health issues, waiver to adult court, and incarceration and probation practices. 

  End of Conference Day 1
Conference Day 2 Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:15am Break

Plenary Session

Dr. Angela Rollins, Regenstrief Institute, An ounce of prevention: addressing social determinants of health and civil rights concerns with evidence-based policies and services

10:20-11:20am (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Mediation and Conciliation Part I (Learn), Adoley Azu, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: This course is designed to teach you the basic steps and essential skills for successful mediations; how to move from conflict to resolution. Explore effective approaches to identify stakeholder interests and priorities, communicate practical realities, impasse resolution techniques, drafting unique settlement agreements and improve your success rate by enhancing mediation outcomes with affirmative reliefs to ensure a win-win outcome for participants and stakeholders

Law and Policy Update: Indiana Civil Rights Commission Legal Update, Doneisha Posey & Jordan Burton, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, PowerPoint Presentation

Attorneys from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission will give an update on the latest employment law and housing law cases, important statistics, and case processing tips.

Diversity and Inclusion: Cultural Sensitivity & Native American Cultural Competency, MeLissa Williams, Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission, Felica Ahasteen-Bryant, Purdue University

Course description: This workshop provides expertise with additional resources to strengthen the educator and administrators skills in engaging appropriately with Native American Indians, Hawaiian and Alaska Native culture.  The Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission has approved the various resources for educators and administrators to utilize. 

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Deka Oliver, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: This course will address various topics regarding people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing such as communication modes, cultural differences, myths, accommodations, understanding the impact of English vs American Sign Language, and use of media to enhance communication access.

11:20-11:30am Break
11:30am-12:30pm (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Mediation and Conciliation Part II (Mock Mediation), Adoley Azu, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Participate actively in a mock mediation exercise; review a scenario, deliberate over stakeholder objectives and arguments, discuss ideal outcomes and worst case scenarios and explore different dispute resolution strategies. The final step in this process will be an opportunity to apply the ground rules of mediation learnt during the first part of this course, towards a settlement agreement for the parties.

Law and Policy Update: Preparing an Employment Case from A to Z, Meghan Lehner, Cleveland Lehner Cassidy Attorneys at Law, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: The purpose of the presentation is to provide a practical approach to litigating employment discrimination claims on behalf of employees. Participants will be provided with helpful hints and strategies for vetting employment discrimination clients, finding the right forum for your case, building your case and collecting evidence, and resolving employment discrimination claims.

Diversity and Inclusion: Internal Investigations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, David Fleischhaker, Indiana State Personnel Department, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: What types of complaints land on your desk? What happens next? How purposeful are the steps you have in place to respond to and investigate those complaints? Why are these steps important? This course will explore the answers to these and other investigation related questions with a focus on providing useful strategies and tips for creating and maintaining effective and meaningful internal investigation processes

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: History of Civil Rights, Mark Russell, Indianapolis Urban League 


Keynote Luncheon

Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

2:00-3:00pm (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: ADA 101, Kelly Rota, Office of the United States Attorney

Law and Policy Update: Retaliation in Employment, Robin Clay, Curlin & Clay Law

Course description: The retaliation seminar will address recent retaliation decisions within the 7th Circuit, and the Northern and Southern District Courts of Indiana. Specifically, the course will address the elements for meeting the plaintiff’s burden in an employment retaliation case, as well as provide examples of credible evidence used to meet each element. Attendees will discuss recent court decisions which acknowledge employers’ “microaggressions” and subtle racial stereotypes that can form the basis of a retaliation case. Participants will walk away with enough knowledge to sufficiently weigh the strength of a retaliation case and will know how Indiana courts evaluate retaliation claims.

Diversity and Inclusion: Breakthrough Hiring--Employing people with Disabilities, Kathy Berndart &  Angela Vandersteen, Tangram Business Resourcing, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Tangram Business Resourcing will conduct an instructor-led interactive session on breaking through the fears, stigmas, and assumptions that exist when it comes to hiring people with disabilities. With today’s tight talent market, there has never been a better time to think differently and take action. This session will take you from “just thinking” about hiring people with disabilities to actually recruiting and hiring people with disabilities useful effective tools to implement immediately.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Voting Rights, Kenneth Falk, American Civil Liberties Union Indiana

Course description: This session will provide an overview of the many facets of voting rights, including the rights of the previously incarcerated, transgender persons, recently naturalized citizens, individuals with disabilities, and others. The presentation will include an examination of the legal rights of individuals with disabilities to accessible polling places and voting processes. Mr. Falk will examine impediments to voters’ rights, including efforts to impose additional obstacles to registration, cutbacks in early voting, and strict voter identification requirements; discuss the ACLU of Indiana’s voting rights litigation; and provide a legislative update on recent legislative developments in the area of voting rights. An opportunity for attendees to ask questions will follow.

3:00-3:15pm Break
3:15-4:15pm (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Using Social Media in Outreach Efforts, Tyler Bracken, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: Social media presence is essential for getting your message out there. Whether you're a non-profit, government agency, or an indivdual, building your brand and presence on social is key to understanding your audience and ensuring proper visability 2019. In this session, conference-goers will learn strategies and best practices that will allow them to market their agencies and organizations on social media in a cost-effective way. 

Law and Policy Update: Credit Discrimination, Jay Chaudhary, Indiana Legal Services

This session will cover the emergence of big data in enabling  discrimination with regards to credit, tenant screening, disabilities, and other areas.

Diversity and Inclusion: Building a Robust D & I Program, Kristen Matha, Ice Miller, PowerPoint Presentation

Building a robust diversity and inclusion program involves intentional strategic planning.  Far too many organizations suffer from “SPOTS” – Strategic Plan on The Shelf.  The successful development and implementation of a diversity and inclusion strategic plan requires rigorous management attention and mechanisms to drive personal accountability.  This session will introduce essential strategic plan components and review the strategic planning life cycle.  Further, we will examine the obstacles involved in strategic plan implementation and present practical strategies to overcome those hurdles.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Inclusive Practices and Progress in LGBTQ+ and Civil Rights, Chris Handberg, IndyPride, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description:The LGBTQ+ community has been fighting for decades for acceptance and inclusion in the main stream community.  Cultural and legal progress has been made in American Society and more people are out in their personal, public, and professional lives.  In this session, learn from the Executive Director of Indy Pride about LGBTQ+ cultural competency and inclusive practices in personal and professional relationships, understand some of the legal challenges that LGBTQ+ have overcome, and consider the progress that is on the horizon.  


Courage and Vision: Champions of Civil Rights Awards Dinner

Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary

  End of Day 2
Conference Day 3 Thursday, June 20, 2019
9-9:30am Closing Remarks
9:30-10:30am (1.0 CLE)

Enforcement Training: Adjudicator Training, Honorable Caroline Stephens Ryker, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: The Administrative Forum can present a number of challenges for litigants. This course aims to provide attendees with the information that they need to understand the expectations of and to navigate the requirements of litigating before the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. The speaker will review the entire process, from filing a complaint to filing objections to an Initial Decision.

Specifically, this course is aimed at attorneys who represent clients during the investigation and litigation of a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. The course will cover the important features of an investigation and the key elements of a defense or complaint for which investigators look. Furthermore, the speaker will outline litigation in the administrative forum, including a review of the components of a Hearing that differ from litigation before a State Court. Additionally, the course will include information that will assist attorneys in deciding whether State Court or the Administrative Forum is the best forum for their litigation.

Law and Policy Update: Agency Alphabet Soup: ICRC, DOL & DWD, Doneisha Posey, ICRC; Rick Ruble, Indiana Department of Labor; Fred Payne, Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Course description: This panel will discuss the intersection of the laws governing civil rights complaints, unemployment insurance benefits, and workers’ compensation benefits. Panelists will include experts from each of these agencies.

Diversity and Inclusion: An Hour with Experts: Tips & Tricks from Corporate D & I Professionals, Brian Richardson, Indiana University; Tamiko Kendrick, Citizens Gas; Lisa Gutierrez, IU Health, Jamie Curts, Mercer

Course description: To build an inclusive workplace, you need to build a culture where everyone feels valued and heard. Creating a culture where people are respected and appreciated requires intentional investment from all levels in the organization. Our panel of corporate Diversity and Inclusion Executives will provide their tips and tricks to creating a culture where the company benefits from ideas, skills and engagement from people of all different backgrounds and perspectives.

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy: Advancing Advocacy Best Practices, Allison Bishop, accessABILITY, PowerPoint Presentation

Course description: In this interactive session, participants will engage with advocacy through the lens of people with disabilities. Come prepared to gain fresh knowledge and absorb an intersectional understanding of advocacy. Your takeaways will be: self-advocacy skills for your personal, professional, and political lives, peer advocacy skills, confidence to ask for what you need and want, disability awareness, and reasonable accommodations - it's not a favor, it's the law.

10:30-10:45am Break
10:45-11:45 am (1.0 CLE)

Plenary, The Disparate Impact of Criminal History in Employment and Housing Discrimination (1.0 CLE pending)

Panel: Lahny Silva, Indiana University McKinney School of Law; Alessandra Rosa, EEOC; Aaron Williamson, Jackson Lewis; Philip Shelton, HUD

Course description: In this session, subject matter experts in criminal law, employment discrimination, and housing discrimination will discuss how criminal history may disparately impact individuals of color when applying for jobs and housing. Participants will learn about the interplay in federal law concerning Civil Rights laws. Additionally, panelists will discuss the difference between arrest and conviction records and the disparate treatment and disparate impact analysis under both Title VII and Title VIII

1-2pm Annual Consortium Meeting

End of Conference

CLE hours are waiting on approval
CLE credit is extended to Indiana attorneys only. Attorneys who need CLE from other states are welcome to apply to their jurisdictions on their own. The extension of CLE credit is subject to each state's approval.

Courage & Vision: Champions of Civil Rights Awards Dinner

Recognition will be given for outstanding performance in each of four categories: Freedom, Equity, Cultural Vision and Diversity and Inclusion. Winners will be recognized at an awards dinner on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, set for 6:30-8:30 PM, with doors opening at 6 pm, at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Center Hotel (31 W. Ohio St. Indianapolis, IN 46204). Nominate qualified individuals or organizations here.

Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary

We're looking forward to hearing Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary, Indiana, present her keynote speech commemorating Juneteenth at the Awards Dinner on June 19, 2019. Karen Freeman-Wilson has been the Mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana since January 2012 becoming the first female to lead the city of Gary and the first African-American female Mayor in the state of Indiana. She attributes the signs of progress in Gary to the efforts of "Team Gary," a group that includes city staff, members of other branches of government at the federal, state and local levels and those in the corporate, educational and non-profit arena who have joined the effort to rebuild the city of Gary.

Mayor Freeman-Wilson has previously served as the Indiana Attorney General, the Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the presiding judge of the Gary City Court. Mayor Freeman-Wilson is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

The Awards Dinner is included in the conference registration price. If you'd like to purchase tickets ONLY for the dinner, select "Civil Rights Awards Dinner" for your ticket purchase on our Eventbrite page.


Interested in your organization becoming a sponsor of the conference?

The sponsorship packet is available here: Sponsorship Packet

Conference Venue

The 46th Annual Consortium Conference will be held at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre from June 17-20. Discounted group rates are available on the Sheraton's website.


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