Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department Celebrates Grand Opening

Posted on 09/14/2021
09.13.21 LACR Grand Opening

New office space includes workspace for discrimination investigators and the John Lewis Conference Center

09.13.21 LACR Grand Opening

 

LOS ANGELES - The city’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) opened the doors on its downtown office complex today, where LA Civil Rights staff will investigate discrimination complaints, enforce LA’s Civil and Human Rights Law, operate the city’s Office of Racial Equity, and more.

“This office is a testament to the struggle for civil and human rights in Los Angeles,” said LA Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox. “From the portraits of civil rights icons that greet you as you walk in, to the state-of-the-art workspaces for discrimination investigators, to our John Lewis Conference center where community groups will meet and carry the work forward - every inch of this office is built for meaningful change. The LA Civil Rights Office will deliver justice and pursue equity in Los Angeles for generations to come.”

“Everyone in L.A. deserves to  be treated with dignity and to be protected from discrimination -- and those values are at the center of everything we do at City Hall,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Capri is an outstanding leader and this new space provides LA Civil Rights with even greater opportunities to pursue justice and work to improve the lives of all Angleneos.

The office complex includes workspace, meeting rooms and storage space for dozens of employees, as well as the John Lewis Conference Center, a conference center with room for over 50 people and live teleconferencing capabilities, where the Human Relations Commission, Commission on the Status of Women, Commission on Civil Rights, Reparations Commission and Transgender Advisory Council will meet. 

"Today marks a significant milestone in the City's continuing work to address inequity and create opportunities for all our communities," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.  "We must commit ourselves to ensuring fairness and justice for every Angeleno.  Only then will L.A. truly fulfill the hope and promise of the 21st Century."

“Building equity across Los Angeles is a primary focus for our city government, and this new office and community space shows how invested we are in this endeavor,” said L.A. Controller Ron Galperin. “As we strive to create fairer, more just communities, the LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department will play a key role in crafting more inclusive policies and ensuring that resources get to neighborhoods that need them most. I am proud that the Controller’s office has partnered with the department to advance these critical goals through the L.A. Equity Index and pledge to continue working together to level the playing field in Los Angeles.”

"Upholding civil rights and racial equity represents the cornerstone of a thriving and diverse democracy,” said Councilmember Kevin de León, who chairs the City Council’s Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, and Equity Committee. “The City of Los Angeles has affirmed its commitment to protecting civil rights and achieving racial equity by establishing its own Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. The opening of the LA Civil Rights Office here at City Hall symbolizes our unwavering pursuit of justice for all Anglenos.” 

“As leaders of a city as diverse as Los Angeles, it is our responsibility to ensure that our most underserved communities have equal access to services, resources, and opportunities. That is why I am committed to advancing an agenda that puts equity at the forefront,” said Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The launch of this department could not have come at a better moment. This is precisely what we need to assist in addressing systemic racism. It's time to get to work.”

“I’m delighted to see my vision of the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department realized with a new office that includes workspace to investigate civil rights complaints,” stated Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “We must thoroughly investigate discrimination and inequity still occurring in our diverse city. It is great that the Department will have the authority to order corrective action and issue penalties. We will get to a place where unity replaces division. I congratulate the Department on their opening.”

“In 2016, former Council President Herb Wesson and I established the embRACE LA initiative to empower communities and affirm the City's commitment to ensuring a better, fairer Los Angeles for all. Then, in 2017, I led the City to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. The establishment of the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department furthers this work, as well as the groundbreaking advocacy done by the Human Relations Commission, the Transgender Advisory Council, and so many more. I'm proud to welcome LA Civil Rights into the City family,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.

"Congratulations to Capri Maddox and her leadership at the City's first Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department that is already accomplishing an impressive array of programs for our communities even without an office.  Even so, this energetic team of professionals that share her values have hit the ground running bringing together a dynamic staff and wealth of civil rights practitioners, legal professionals and educational experts and commission support," said Councilmember Paul Koretz.  "I'm so excited to witness and partner on many of their developing citywide and inclusionary programs built upon principles of love, compassion, justice and a resolute conviction that ours is a Los Angeles for all."

“Today is an historic day for Los Angeles. With the opening of the new Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department office, our city is reaffirming its commitment to creating a just, equitable, and inclusive place for all of us who call Los Angeles home. I look forward to partnering with LA Civil Rights in the months and years ahead to realize our collective vision of an LA for all,” said Councilmember Nithya Raman.

The office was designed by architectural firm Gensler, and constructed with the support of the city’s Bureau of Engineering, General Services Department, and Information Technology Agency. It includes artwork, gender neutral bathrooms, and portraits of civil rights leaders.

“Gensler is committed to creating equitable and inclusive places and spaces in our communities where people can live, work and play,” said Brianna Seabron, project manager, Gensler Los Angeles. “We are proud to have partnered with the City of Los Angeles to create a home for equity and justice creating an impact in our own city. 

LA Civil Rights was launched in July of 2020 to address discrimination and inequity in the City of Los Angeles. In that time, it has launched the LA for All campaign, an anti-hate campaign translated into 17 languages and displayed on 4,000+ ad spaces across LA, led the RENEW Task Force for racial equity in the private sector, hosted over two dozen events, led over 100 commission and ad hoc committee meetings, participated in over 300 community meetings, and. It’s Human Relations Commission also published a detailed report on Policing in the Black Community that was cited by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about the department’s work here.

The department’s discrimination enforcement program will take cases of discrimination in private commerce, education, employment and housing that happen within the City of Los Angeles starting early next year. The department will have the authority to order corrective action and issue penalties. Learn more here.

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