Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2012

Commissioner Lindsey, Department of Human Rights to Visit Grand Rapids April 16

The use of job applicants' criminal records by employers and the proposal to amend Minnesota's Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage will be among the topics addressed as the Department of Human Rights (MDHR) visits Grand Rapids on April 16.

The department will conduct a free training showcase from 9 AM to 10:45 AM at Itasca Community College, in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission and the Council on Crime and Justice.

The showcase will provide participants with an overview of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, a summary of the types of charges filed with the department, and common employment issues that can lead to charges of discrimination. The session on the Human Rights Act will be conducted by Mario Hernandez, Legislative and Community Affairs, Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The showcase will also include a session on Criminal Records and Employment conducted by Emily Baxter, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Council on Crime and Justice.

Following the showcase, Commissioner Kevin Lindsey will join in a panel discussion from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on the proposed amendment to ban same-sex gay marriage. Panelists include Jon Maturi, District Court Judge; Lee Staples, St. Croix Band of Ojibwe tribal elder and spiritual leader; Rev. Joe Franzone, pastor of West Cohasset Chapel; and Rev. Mike Carlson, executive pastor of St. Andrews Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, in addition to Commissioner Lindsey. Barb Sanderson of the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission will facilitate the panel discussion.

Later in the afternoon, Commissioner Lindsey, Grand Rapids city officials and representatives from the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission will meet with Blandin Foundation President Dr. Kathy Annette. The Blandin Foundation has been active in strengthening Greater Minnesota communities and supporting diverse stakeholders in the region.

The showcase will be held at Continued Learning Conference Center, Backes Student Center, Itasca Community College, 1851 East Highway 169. Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

The panel discussion on the marriage amendment, titled "Viewpoints: Marriage Amendment Workshop," will take place at Davies Hall Theater at Itasca Community College and is also open to the public. The workshop is sponsored by the Itasca Community College, the ICC Gay Straight Alliance, the Nursing Club, O-Gitch-I-Da, Philosophy Club, Psychology Club, Student Government, Secular Student Alliance and the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission.


For more information please contact Jeff Holman, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, 651-539-1090,

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