According to the 1999 report of the North Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “North Dakota desperately needs a mechanism to carry out the provisions of the North Dakota Human Rights Act. In addition, the extent of discrimination in the state needs to be determined, and human rights commission established with full investigative and enforcement powers.” In response, 61 organizations from across North Dakota came together in 2000 to form the North Dakotans for a Human Rights Commission Coalition (NDHR Commission Coalition).
In the 2001 legislative session, the NDHR Commission Coalition initiated legislation to create an independent state human rights commission. The response of legislators was to amend legislation the NDHR Commission Coalition proposed. The amended legislation gave the North Dakota Department of Labor’s Division of Human Rights the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination and ensure that justice and fair compensation was provided to victims of illegal discrimination in North Dakota.
Member organizations of the NDHR Commission Coalition determined that although progress had been made toward its goal, much remained in terms of accountability and a fully functioning human rights education and enforcement agency. In 2002, as a result of a three-year grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition (NDHRC) was formed.
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition is a broad-based coalition of individuals and organizations with an interest in the furtherance of human rights in North Dakota. The director and assistant director and a 14-member board of directors continue to advance the mission and goals of the Coalition.