50 Years of HRC
- The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is established by the City Council following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Every year the HRC brings a proclamation forward to the City Council to recognize the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. The tradition began at the HRC’s inception and continues today.
- Slogan and symbol “We Share the Dream” chosen
- The Rumor Control Center is implemented to handle inquiries of unfounded rumors relating to people of minority groups. This center was in place until 1971.
- Omar Bonderud serves as the first chairperson of the Commission.
- HRC began assisting the Bloomington School District 271 on matters related to human rights.
- Complaints ranged from alleged discrimination in rental apartments, the name of a type of sandwich sold by a local establishment (Dago Red Hots), apartment rental by a divorced mother with one child, and derogatory word used by a local motel (squaw).
- Resolution adopted regarding sex discrimination in school personnel policies.
- Dred Scott Playfield named for western playfield in Bloomington. Scott was enslaved at Fort Snelling for 2 years during a time when Minnesota was a free territory.
- Equity pledge: The goal was to have 40 percent of Bloomington business pledging to provide equal service to all customers and equal employment opportunities.
- New process for handling alleged discrimination complaints created.
- HRC commended the efforts of resource staff at Jefferson High School for actions supporting homosexuality.
- HRC is the recipient of the first annual Human Rights Award presented by the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissioners.
- HRC establishes the Omar Bonderud Human Rights Award to recognize persons who have made a significant contribution to insuring the rights of people in Bloomington. The inaugral winners are Elbert Clark and Robert Timpte.
- The Commission made a strong effort to enlist the help of people from minority populations. Evelyn Carter, a social studies teacher at Lincoln High School, asked to serve. She served as the chair of the commission and led efforts to set up rap sessions between youth and police officers.
- One issue brought before the early HRC was when a local HRC commissioner was fired for working on a housing study for the commission. The issue was sent to the State Department of Human Rights and resulted in local ordinances prohibiting reprisal against those who associate or promote the rights of protected classes. This is found today in the Minnesota State Statue 363A.
- HRC sends a letter of protest to a publishing company that described an American Indian as small stature, repulsive, ignorant, lazy and cowardly. The author agreed the passage was an unfortunate stereotype and deleted it for future editions.
- A burning cross set on the lawn of a black family occurred in what seemed to be a series of racial hate incidents. The City Council, at the urging of the HRC, offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
- HRC fully integrated into the City’s service structure.
- Mall of America designed with accessibility in mind.
- HRC brochure made available in English, Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian. Somali is added in 2005.
- Civic Plaza named a peace site with peace pole dedication.
- New committee researches Domestic Partner Registry by Council request.
- HRC collaborates with U.S. District Courts District of Minnesota for the Legacy of Courage and Freedom: Dred and Harriet Scott plaque at Dred Scott Playfield.
- 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- HRC collaborates with the Bloomington School District to develop a statement on immigration.
- HRC works with the HRA on a Fair Housing Policy.
- HRC celebrates 50 years of aiding and advising the Council.