Minnesota's new Human Rights commissioner, Rebecca Lucero, says that human rights should be accessible to everyone. This belief is based on injustices she witnessed at an early age.
"I lived through so many wrongs, so I have an innate understanding of this work and it's very personal to me," she said in an interview.
Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lucero worked in a grocery store with her father before and after school. She says she considered her coworkers friends and when they were treated poorly, fired or let go, she turned to her father in frustration. His advice was to become a lawyer. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2007 but was dissatisfied with her early work in employment law.
"Law and justice are totally different," she said.
Lucero says she represented high-profile clients who settled out of court with companies that didn't change their practices and she wanted to make a bigger impact on more vulnerable communities. Since then she has worked for Habitat for Humanity and as an employment law judge in the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. Most recently she was the public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
She now runs the department that looks at discrimination in the workplace, along with other key human rights issues.
Commissioner Lucero joined Angela Davis to talk about how the Department of Human Rights works and how it works with Minnesotans to fight discrimination.
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.