October News

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October Newsletter

We celebrated civil rights at our new office!

MDHR New Office Celebration

Picture of attendees taken at the photo booth!

Last month, MDHR opened its new St. Paul office to community members, legislators, partners, and more. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us! 

Click here to see photos from the celebration.

During the event, activities were spread throughout the office. One of the most popular was an activity where folks wrote what civil rights means to them.

Civil Rights Wall

Here are a few of the powerful statements written:

  • "Equity, freedom to live with joy, love, and liberty for all!" 
  • "I can find an accessible bathroom."
  • "Side-by-side with everyone."
  • "We all matter. We all belong. We all must support each other."
  • "All voices at the table and heard, not just seen." 

Next Steps on Telescope v. Lucero

Every Minnesotan should have the opportunity to live with dignity and joy, free from discrimination. Moreover, nobody should be turned away from a business or denied service in a restaurant because of who they are. The Minnesota Human Rights Act is clear: discrimination is wrong and prohibited under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. 

Commissioner Rebecca Lucero and Attorney General Keith Ellison

That’s why Commissioner Lucero and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison are challenging the federal district court’s ruling that would allow a video business in St. Cloud called Telescope Media to use their personal beliefs to discriminate against same sex-couples.

READ: Commissioner Lucero and Attorney General Ellison's op-ed.

This is an important moment – not only for this case but in history. LGBTQ community members, especially trans women of color, are facing increased rates of discrimination. Additionally, many anti-discrimination protections that generations have fought for are being challenged and rolled back.

While this case is in its infancy, MDHR is in it for the long hall and will continue to enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act to ensure our friends, family members, and neighbors have equal access to businesses.  

U.S. Supreme Court Case on LGBTQ+ Protection

This was an incredibly important week for civil rights in this country. On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments to decide if an employer can fire an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is part of a discussion that the Court is having on whether an employer can fire someone based on how they believe a person of a certain sex should behave – something that has been prohibited for decades. The potential wide-ranging decision the Supreme Court could have profound consequences for decades to come. The decision for this case is expected sometime before the end of June, 2020.

While job discrimination against gay and transgender workers is legal in much of the country, it is prohibited in Minnesota. No matter how this ruling turns out, Minnesota’s anti discrimination laws remain some of the strongest in the nation and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights will continue to work to ensure all Minnesotans can lead lives full of dignity, free from discrimination.

MDHR's New Government Relations Director

Eric Head Shot

Eric Armacanqui, MDHR Government Relations Director

MDHR welcomes Eric Armacanqui as the Department's Government Relations Director. Eric previously served as the Policy & Legislative Affairs Director at the Children's Defense Fund - Minnesota. Eric also successfully advocated for immigration and economic development legislation while at the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs. 

Eric earned a Master of Public Policy degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Eric is the proud son of a Peruvian immigrant and an Iowa farmer. While growing up, he was surrounded by family members and friends from all walks of life and corners of the globe.