Human Rights Commissioners 

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Biographical Information
Martin R. Castro

Martin R. Castro, Esq.
Chairman


Hon. Martin ("Marty") Castro is the President of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations seeking to have a positive social impact on diverse communities.

In March 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Castro Chairperson of the United States Commission on Civil Rights ("USCCR"), making him the agency's eighth Chair since the formation of the USCCR, and the first Latino Chairperson in the history of the USCCR.

Prior to forming Castro Synergies, Chairman Castro practiced law and was a partner at several prestigious law firms, including Baker & McKenzie, then the world's largest international law firm; and was Vice President of External Affairs at Aetna, where he helped to address issues of healthcare inequalities.

The constant thread throughout Chairman Castro's career has been his personal commitment to giving back to the community. Chairman Castro has been an active leader in community, civil and philanthropic organizations, and blue ribbon and governmental committees. Chairman Castro is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust and Chair of the board of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Mr. Castro was appointed as Chair of the Commission in December 2009.

Marti Baricevic

Marti Baricevic
Commissioner


Hon. Marti Baricevic is a Business Industry Training Representative for Southwestern Illinois College.

Ms. Baricevic was appointed to the Commission in May 2003.

 

David Chang

David Chang
Commissioner


Hon. David Chang is a retired restaurateur and is a leader in Chicago's Asian American Community.

Mr. Chang was first appointed to the Commission in 2003, and he was reappointed in April 2012.

Robert A. Cantone

Robert A. Cantone
Commissioner


Hon. Robert A. Cantone is an attorney. Since 1986, his practice has involved handling personal injury claims on behalf of persons who have been injured due to motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, product defects and medical malpractice. Additionally, he has acted as an arbitrator for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration program since 1990. He is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Cantone was appointed to the Commission in March 2011.

Terry Cosgrove
Commissioner


Hon. Terry Cosgrove has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of human rights for over 30 years. Mr. Cosgrove served as Chair of the Urbana, Illinois Human Relations Commission from 1976-1979. Cosgrove has played a major role in promoting public awareness about the importance of Human Rights laws, helping to pass both the Urbana and Champaign Illinois Human Rights Ordinances in the 1970s. These two ordinances were the first in Illinois to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, source of income and familial status. In 1980, Mr. Cosgrove was one of two plaintiffs in a precedent-setting legal action successfully challenging discriminatory practices based on sexual orientation in public accommodations. Mr. Cosgrove is currently President & CEO of Personal PAC which supports access to the full range of reproductive health care for everyone in Illinois.

Mr. Cosgrove was appointed to the Commission in March 2011.

Nabi R. Fakroddin

Nabi R. Fakroddin, P.E., S.E.
Commissioner


Hon. Nabi R. Fakroddin is a licensed Professional and Structural Engineer. Mr. Fakroddin is Past President of the Illinois Engineering Council and the Illinois Association of County Engineers. He is a member of the St. Charles Zoning Board of Appeals and a former member of the Western Illinois Regional Manpower and Planning Commission. Mr. Fakroddin is the recipient of numerous awards, including APWA's Top Ten Public Works Leaders in the U.S. and a Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Mr. Fakroddin was appointed to the Commission in March 2010.

Merri Dee

Merri Dee
Commissioner


Hon. Merri Dee is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and a highly popular panelist, moderator, and professional mentor. As president of MD Communications, she helps organizations develop strategies on media relations, marketing and public relations, community relations, and fundraising. In addition, Merri Dee provides individuals with professional and life coaching assistance while also serving as the Illinois State President, AARP.

In addition to being an award-winning broadcaster who has been a trailblazer in both radio and television, Merri Dee supports organizations that address critical social issues such as adoption and foster care, violence prevention, education, and women's issues. An impassioned advocate for violence prevention, Ms. Dee was the force behind the Illinois General Assembly's passage of the nation's first Victim's Bill of Rights, which has served as model legislation for similar laws throughout the United States.

Merri Dee was appointed to serve as an official U.S. Army Ambassador. She was appointed by former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to serve on the Mayor's Council on Women's Issues, and by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to The Serve Illinois Commission, a volunteer advocacy delegation.

In November 2012, Ms. Dee obtained Senate Confirmation of her appointment as an Illinois Human Rights Commissioner.

Rozanne Ronen
Commissioner


Hon. Rozanne Ronen is an Information Technology independent contractor and has worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Ronen also serves as Vice-Chair of the Commission.

Ms. Ronen was appointed to the Commission in 2004.

 


 

 

Diane Viverito

Diane Viverito
Commissioner


Hon. Diane Viverito is an administrator in student development at Moraine Valley Community College. Ms. Viverito is a founding member and past Chair of Study Illinois Consortium. Ms. Viverito is an advocate for community college international and diversity education.

Ms. Viverito was appointed to the Commission in 2005.

 

 


 

David J. Walsh

David J. Walsh
Commissioner


Hon. David J. Walsh joined Mark J. Walsh & Company in 2011 as the head of business development. MJW & CO is a Chicago-based commodity trading advisor. He worked as the Senior Vice President of advertising for the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 2008-2010. Prior to joining the Star Tribune, Walsh worked in a variety of positions within the Tribune Company-where his last position was as Vice President of advertising for the Los Angeles Times. Before joining the Times in 2005, he served as Vice President of Tribune Interactive, overseeing print and online classified strategies for 10 Tribune newspapers.

Mr. Walsh was appointed to the Commission in October 2011.





Patricia Bakalis Yadgir
Commissioner


Hon. Patricia Bakalis Yadgir was appointed to the Commission in June 2011.

   

Lauren Beth Gash
Commissioner

 
Hon. Lauren Beth Gash is an attorney (Georgetown University Law Center, '87, where she served as Associate Editor of the American Criminal Law Review). She served four terms in the IL House of Representatives, where she chaired the Judiciary Committee. She was also Vice-Chair of the Elections and Campaign Reform Committee.

Previously, she worked for State Representative Grace Mary Stern. She also worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and has served on the staffs of U.S. Senators Alan Dixon and Paul Simon.

Lauren is a life-long community organizer who has founded and/or served on numerous not-for-profit boards, including the Anti-Defamation League, the PTA, and the League of Women Voters. She is a former volunteer attorney at Prairie State Legal Services.

Lauren lives in Highland Park, Illinois and is married with two adult children.

She was appointed to the Commission in March 2013.








   

Brad Cole
Commissioner

Hon. Brad Cole currently serves as Vice President of Pepsi MidAmerica, a privately owned, multi-state, soft drink bottling and full-line snack vending and distribution business servicing a five-state franchise territory in the Midwest.

Mr. Cole was formerly the Downstate Director for United States Senator Mark Kirk, of Illinois.  He served as Mayor of the City of Carbondale, Illinois from 2003 through 2011; he was elected the youngest-ever Mayor of Carbondale at the age of 31.

Mr. Cole serves as a member of numerous boards for both public and private organizations.  He is currently Chairman Emeritus of Sister Cities International (an international, non-governmental organization focused on citizen diplomacy, based in Washington, DC), having served two years as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Mr. Cole has a keen interest in international development.  He has led or participated in group exchange missions to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Republic of the Philippines, Germany and Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, and India.  He has also presented at international conferences in China, The Netherlands, Ghana and Australia.

Mr. Cole was appointed to the Commission in January 2014.

 
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