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Federal Resources Community Guide

What Are Civil Rights?

Civil rights are the personal liberties that belong to an individual as a result of his or her status as a citizen or resident of a particular country. In America, civil rights are founded on the values of equal justice and equal opportunity for all.

You cannot be discriminated against based on your race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.

Civil rights in the United States include fair housing and fair lending, voting rights, equal employment opportunity, public accommodations, educational rights and disability rights. They protect against law enforcement misconduct, discriminatory policing, religious discrimination, discrimination against individuals that do not speak English or are limited English proficient, and hate crimes. 

Civil rights also include rights for specific populations like service members, those who are institutionalized, and those in the LGBT community. 

Did you know...

Nearly 1 in 20 Ohioans are Latino or Asian

The foreign-born share of Ohio’s population rose from 2.4% in 1990, to 3.0% in 2000, to 4.1% in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Somali Community Access Network estimates that Central Ohio was home to more than 45,000 Somali Americans

The 2010 purchasing power of Ohio’s Latinos totaled $7.7 billion—an increase of 394.9% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $7.3 billion—an increase of 292.7% since 1990

Our Speakers


  • Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio
  • Cassandra Robinson, Senior Community Safety Specialist and Iris Roley, The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati Community Police Partnering Center
  • Cynthia Stankiewicz, Acting Director of the Cleveland Field Office, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Eduardo Gesio, Equal Opportunity Specialist, Chicago Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • David Hejmanoski,  Magistrate, Delaware County Juvenile Court
  • Inna Simakovsky, Immigration Attorney
  • Julia Arbini, Board member, Ohio Hispanic Coalition; commissioner, CRC
  • Juliet K. Choi, Chief of Staff & Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
    Julia L. Dorrian, Judge, Franklin County, Ohio.
  • Jeffrey Blackwell, Deputy Chief of Police, Columbus Ohio Division of Police
  • Kenneth L. Parker, Chief of Criminal Division of U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Ohio 
  • Keith McNeil, Director of Operations/Regional Counsel, Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director, National Center for Asian Pacific Islander Community Development
  • Michael Payton, Director of Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Nelson Hewitt, Equal Opportunity Specialist, CRC
  • Rebecca Nelson, Bias Assessment and Response Team, The Ohio State University; member, OAAPIAC and CRC
  • Ronnell Tomlinson, Director of Housing Enforcement, Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Tonia Lake, Training and Technical Assistance Director, Ohio Domestic Violence Network
  • SSA Eric Thomas, FBI