PHRC launches Civil Rights Division in 2024


PHRC launches Civil Rights Division in 2024

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is excited to announce the creation of a dedicated Civil Rights Division to combat hate and promote anti-racism.

“In recent years, we have witnessed a disturbing surge in hate crimes and acts of discrimination across the nation and in our commonwealth," said PHRC Executive Director, Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. “This rise in hate and intolerance threatens the fabric of our diverse society and the principles of equality and justice that we hold dear. We must take a stand against hate, intolerance, and discrimination in all its forms. We must work tirelessly to promote a culture of acceptance, respect, and equality. A dedicated Civil Rights Division within the PHRC will play a crucial role in this fight."

The Civil Rights division will focus on investigating civil tensions, conflicts, and incidents; enforcing anti-discrimination laws; and promoting anti-racism through education and outreach. Moreover, the division will engage in proactive outreach to educate the public about the dangers of hate and the importance of anti-racism. It will work closely with the Executive Director (given his expertise in this space), schools, businesses, community organizations, and other stakeholders to foster a culture of acceptance and respect for all Pennsylvanians.

“The creation of a Civil Rights Division within PHRC will further our unwavering commitment to equality, justice, and human dignity," added PHRC Chairperson M. Joel Bolstein, Esq. “All of the Commissioners want to thank our Executive Director, Chad Dion Lassiter, and his dedicated staff for bringing this vision into reality, and we look forward to the new Civil Rights Division making a real difference in the lives of each and every person living or working in Pennsylvania."

U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-3) said, “I applaud the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for being proactive in creating this Civil Rights Division. This is a much-needed step – in recent years, Pennsylvanians have been experiencing an increase in white nationalism and hate crimes and incidents. As I and other members of Congress work at the federal level to address these issues, this action at the state level is vital."

“The creation of a permanent civil rights division is a critical step in the fight to root out hate and discrimination in our communities, our Commonwealth, and our Nation," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “We have an obligation to combat bigotry and safeguard civil rights for every Pennsylvanian and American, for the wellbeing of our neighbors today and our children tomorrow."

The Civil Rights division will include several Civil Rights Outreach Coordinators (CROCS) and a supervisor. The CROCs responsibilities will include:

  • Providing complex facilitation, mediation, and conciliation services for communities facing conflicts and tensions related to race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, LGBTQ+ status, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability status pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
  • Providing training and consultation services to public officials and community representatives and providing them with the skills and mechanisms necessary to prevent and resolve future tensions.
  • Leading regional projects or initiatives, as assigned by leadership to improve CROC's visibility, ability to deliver services, and ability to anticipate and prevent conflict in jurisdictional communities.
  • Developing and implementing comprehensive outreach plans targeting all jurisdictional communities in conjunction with the PHRC Advisory Councils and the PHRC Social Justice Ambassadors Program.

The window to apply for these positions has closed, and interviews are underway.

PHRC, the state's leading civil rights enforcement agency, urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410.  Information and resources are also available at


PHRC Media Contact Details

Amanda Brothman

Communications Director 771-856-5971
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Media