As Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, I’m responsible for ensuring that the Department promptly investigates charges of discrimination and ensures that every person in Minnesota has the ability to enjoy all of the benefits of society regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, familial status, and public assistance status.
When I reflect on Black History Month, I’m always left with this indelible impression of just how much blacks love the United States and how hard blacks have struggled to help the country live up to the highest ideals expressed in the United States Constitution.
Blacks have spilled their blood for freedom, equality, opportunity and justice throughout the rich history of our country.
One doesn’t need to look long to find stories of Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre , the 54th Volunteer Regiment of Massachusetts that fought in the Civil War, the exploits of the 93rd Infantry during World War I, or most recently brought to the big screen, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is, “Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it.”
In my current position as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, I have the privilege of continuing this tradition by seeking to eradicate discrimination in Minnesota and ensure that we live up to our highest ideals and commitments under the law.
The work of the Department is often difficult, complex, and challenging as we sometimes have to ask difficult questions and not everyone appreciates being reminded that we can do more to fulfill our promise to all citizens.
Are we living up to the ideals espoused in the United States Constitution?
Are we educating our children as we have committed ourselves to do under the Minnesota constitution?
Is our democratic republic the leading light in the world for freedom, equality, opportunity and justice?
While the work of Department is difficult, the work is also extremely rewarding and I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute in making the State of Minnesota and the United States stronger.
Kevin Lindsey was appointed Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in February 2011. He had previously served as a civil litigation attorney in the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney, and has 20 years of experience in resolving complex legal and public policy questions.