Human Rights and Opportunities Commission Appoints New Director


Hartford – R. Hamisi Ingram of Maryland has been chosen to lead the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). The Commission voted at a special meeting on July 27, 2004 to appoint Ingram to a four-year term as executive director of the state’s civil rights law enforcement agency. Ingram has 30 years of civil rights experience and will assume his new duties on August 16, 2004.

Ingram, who will be the agency’s sixth executive director, will oversee an agency with a $6 million budget and 88 staff. He succeeds Cynthia Watts Elder who resigned last August to take a position at the Phoenix Companies, Incorporated. Raymond P. Pech has been serving as interim executive director.

A graduate of Howard University and the Howard University Law School, Ingram currently serves as the Senior Disadvantaged Program and Compliance Specialist with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Department of Workforce Development and Diversity Programs. He has responsibility for the implementation and administration of the authority’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) program, which includes evaluating and monitoring external Equal Employment Opportunity contractor compliance policies and procedures.

He previously served as director of the Maryland Office of Program Integrity, where he managed a $7 million budget and had responsibility for more than 200 staff, executive director of the Fair Housing Board in Arlington, Virginia and as an assistant attorney general in the Ohio Office of the Attorney General, where his duties involved enforcement of Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws, training investigators and researchers, drafting civil rights legislation and reviewing affirmative action plans. As the assistant director of the Afro-American Studies Department Resource Center at Howard University, Ingram developed a course on modern civil rights that remains a part of the curriculum today.

In announcing Ingram’s appointment, Amalia Vazquez Bzdyra, the commission chairperson, said, ” After a comprehensive nationwide search and a thorough internal deliberative process for a new executive director to lead CHRO, I am pleased to welcome Mr. Ingram, who was chosen by a unanimous vote, to his new position.”

Bzdyra added, ” The Commission and I look forward to working with Mr. Ingram as CHRO embarks upon this exciting new change in its history of service to the citizens of Connecticut.”

Ingram said, “This is a most excellent opportunity to continue the storied history of the state’s venerable civil rights enforcement. I feel blessed to face this challenge and with the assistance of God hope to find early and sustained success for the citizens of Connecticut.”

Ingram, who describes himself as an innovator and self-starter, has an extensive communications background and has taught as an assistant professor of communications at Bowie State University in Maryland. Ingram has authored numerous professional articles and reports, which include Strategic Planning for Human Resources and Civil Rights Functions, DBE Program Plan and Legislative Rules and Regulations Affecting Special Investigations.

Established in 1943, the Commission is the nation’s oldest civil rights enforcement agency. The agency enforces the state’s laws which prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and credit transactions. The Commission also monitors compliance with state contract compliance laws and reviews state agency affirmative action plans. The agency receives approximately 2500 discrimination complaints annually.

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