Duly Noted

Wesaw appointed to Michigan Advisory Committee of U.S. Civil Rights Commission, comments on Krichbaum passing

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) announces that Director Matthew J. Wesaw has been appointed to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s (USCCR) Michigan Advisory Council for two years, effective Jan. 29. “Michigan has a long, proud tradition of being a leader in civil rights,” Wesaw said. “I look forward to joining with other state leaders to continue to advocate fairness, equality and justice for all people.”

Wesaw has been MDCR Director since Nov. 2013. Prior to that, he worked 26 years for the Michigan State Police and 6 years with the Michigan State Police Troopers Association. He has served as a tribal council member, vice chairman and past chairman of the federally-recognized Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Gov. Engler appointed Wesaw to the Commission on Indian Affairs and the Community Service Commission. Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Wesaw to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission where he served for eight years, including as
Chair 2010-2012. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him to the Council on Law Enforcement and Reinvention Committee.

The USCCR was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as an independent, bi-partisan federal agency whose mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance the enforcement of federal civil rights laws. There are eight USCCR commissioners, half appointed by the President and half by Congress. Citizen volunteers, appointed by commissioners to assist with fact-finding, investigation and information sharing, make up  the 51 State Advisory Committees (all states and the District of Columbia).

The Michigan Advisory Committee will also be led by a long-time MDCR employee. Donna Budnick, who worked for MDCR from 1997-2007 as the American Indian Affairs Specialist, has been reappointed to the committee and asked to serve as chairperson.

On a sadder note, Wesaw commented on the Feb. 3 death of former Civil Rights Department Director Rev. Dr. Daniel H. Krichbaum: “Michigan lost a true civil rights champion with the death of Dan Krichbaum. Dan was a gentle spirit but a fierce fighter for equality, justice and fairness for all people. From his time as an ordained minister... to his years of public service in city and state government, Dan never lost his passion or his heart.  His quiet, steadfast leadership helped bridge the divide, bringing people together in a world too often divided by fear and mistrust. I believe I speak for our Commission..., our staff and our... partners when I say that Dan’s leadership and commitment will be missed.”