State and Local Agencies
The United States Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency of the Federal Government. Established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, it is directed, among other duties, to investigate and study discrimination and denials of equal protection of the laws on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin. Other organizations-both government and private-also undertake similar missions in civil rights. Unlike the Commission, a number of the governmental agencies also have enforcement authority.
One of the Commission's statutory mandates is to serve as a national clearinghouse for information with respect to discrimination or denials of equal protection of the laws. The Civil Rights Directory has been developed as part of the Commission's clearinghouse mission. The purpose is to provide a compilation of Federal, State, and local governmental agencies and private organizations with significant civil rights responsibilities and a description of each organization's services. Information in the Directory was, for the most part, provided directly to the Commission by the organization listed. The Commission contacted many sources in its efforts to make the Directory as comprehensive as possible. This reference volume includes not only civil rights agencies and organizations but also entities whose responsibilities and services are related to civil rights. Additional information on the services and activities of a specific civil rights agency or private organization should be obtained by contacting it directly.
The Directory is not a handbook that describes how individuals who believe they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with a governmental agency at the Federal, State, or local level. However, the Commission has issued another clearinghouse publication, Getting Uncle Sam to Enforce Your Civil Rights, which provides information on the complaint filing process of various governmental agencies.
The Civil Rights Directory was developed by the Commission's Public Affairs Unit under the supervision of Charles R. Rivera, Director of Public Affairs. Barbara Brooks, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, provided program direction and support for this project. Marcia Tyler, the Community Relations Manager, was responsible for the development and coordination of the Directory. Clerical assistance was furnished by Deborah Glispie and Carolita Little. William Lee, writer-editor, provided editorial review. In addition, the Public Affairs Unit was fortunate to have valuable assistance from student volunteer interns. Those interns were: Mona Atia, Alexander Eule, Christina Hsu, Jennifer Lin, Nicola Mrazek, Jennifer Parry, Rahul Sinha, Tracee Wilkins, Kendee Yamaguchi, Melissa Zack, and Jennifer Zefras.
The information for this Directory was largely collected during 1996. The organizations listed were contacted again in the Summer of 1997 to verify the accuracy of the information that was submitted previously. We would appreciate any updates to the information that readers can provide. Please send such information to:
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Public Affairs Unit, Room 732
624 Ninth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20425