Michael Browne and Mario Hernandez to fill two key positions in the MN Department of Human Rights

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Browne served recently as Interim Director of the Minneapolis Department of Human Rights and brings powerful experience to the Department; Hernandez just retired as Executive Director of La Escuelita. Their appointment brings hope to minorities and communities of color.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filled two key positions by hiring Michael K. Browne, former Interim Director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and Mario Hernandez, former Executive Director of La Escuelita. Browne will serve as the department’s Manager, Legal Affairs, coordinating appeals, conciliations, settlements and other legal matters. Hernandez will work with the Commissioner of Human Rights Velma Korbel on legislative matters and will assist with community outreach.

As Interim Director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights from May 2006 until June 2007, Browne earned the respect of lawyers and judges and garnered high praise for his contributions to the department during a transitional period. He had joined the Minneapolis Department in September 2005 after serving as a consultant, conducting a review of the City’s Civil Rights Complaint Investigations Unit and Civilian Police Review Authority.

Previously Browne was a practicing attorney focusing on civil rights, criminal and employment law. From 2002 to 2003 he was a Fellow with the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany, and recently earned a certificate from the Human Rights Institute/Faculty of Law at the University of Madrid and Helsinki España. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and J.D. degree from Hamline Law School in St. Paul, and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He lives in North Minneapolis and is a native of Rochester, MN.

Mario Hernandez brings a wealth of management and public policy experience along with strong ties to immigrant communities. From 2005 to 2007 he served as Executive Director of La Escuelita, an organization that provides programs for Latino youth. In 2007 he was selected as “Community Educator of the Year” by the community newspaper La Prensa de Minnesota. In 2005 he was selected as one of “25 on the Rise” by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota.

Previously Hernandez had served as Management Analyst for the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, where he gathered community input to advise state legislators and policy makers about Latinos in Minnesota. He also spent three years as the Council’s greater Minnesota community liaison. He received his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Southwest State University in Marshall, MN. He lives in St. Paul.

“We’re delighted that two such highly qualified and well-respected individuals have chosen to join the Minnesota Department of Human Rights,” said Commissioner Korbel. “As we continue to strengthen our relationships with legislators, local communities and all those who have a stake in ensuring equal opportunity, their experience and commitment will prove invaluable to our vision of a Minnesota that’s discrimination-free.”

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