2020 Civil Rights Summit

Welcoming Remarks from Governor JB Pritzker

Remarks from former IDHR and IHRC Directors and Chairs

CLE Topics

CLE #1:  Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class Under the Illinois Human Rights Act and Bostock

Panelists 

The Hon. Charlotte A. Burrows, Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Hon. William J. Borah, Administrative Law Judge, IHRC

Moderator

Erica Seyburn, Assistant General Counsel, IHRC 

CLE #2:  COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Illinois Human Rights Act in Education, Housing, and Employment

Panelists 

Cathy A. Pilkington, Esq., Pilkington Law

Lon D. Meltesen, Region V Director Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Dr. Maurice Swinney, Chief Equity Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Moderator

Evelio Mora, Assistant General Counsel, IHRC

CLE #3: Legal and Legislative Approaches to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives in Illinois

Panelists

The Hon. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, Illinois House of Representatives

Steven R. Cade, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

Jasmine Hooks, Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois Office of the Governor 

Moderator

Kelleye M. Chube, General Counsel, IHRC

Speaker Biographies

Governor JB Pritzker
Jasmine Hooks

The Hon. William J. Borah
The Hon. Charlotte A. Burrows
Steven R. Cade
Lon D. Meltesen
Cathy A. Pilkington, Esq.
Maurice Swinney, EdD
The Hon. Emanuel "Chris" Welch

The Honorable
Governor JB Pritzker

State of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd governor of the state of Illinois on January 14, 2019 and won election with the largest margin of victory over a sitting governor in more than a century.

After taking the oath of office, Governor Pritzker immediately began working with Democrats and Republicans to accomplish one of the most ambitious and consequential legislative agendas in state history. During his first session, the governor passed a balanced budget with a bipartisan majority, making historic investments in education and human services, while restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. The governor also won bipartisan passage for legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis and for Rebuild Illinois, the largest investment in state history to upgrade roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and universities in every corner of the state.

The governor took bold action, putting state government back on the side of working families by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making college more affordable for nearly 10,000 additional students, and advancing equal pay for women.

A national leader in early childhood education for over 20 years and having organized President Obama’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, Governor Pritzker this year made childcare and preschool more affordable in Illinois for tens of thousands more families. He also partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Share our Strength to fight child poverty by expanding school breakfast programs in low income school districts across our state.

Before becoming governor, Pritzker founded 1871, the non-profit small business incubator in Chicago that has helped entrepreneurs create more than 11,000 jobs and more than 1,000 new companies. Since the creation of 1871, Chicago has been named one of the top ten technology startup hubs in the world, and 1871 was named the best incubator in the world. As governor, he has expanded support for new business incubators and cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of small businesses while incentivizing job creation and innovation. He also extended research and development tax credits to help manufacturing workers and businesses thrive, and he worked with the business community to create apprenticeship tax credits to promote job training.

The descendant of refugees, Governor Pritzker believes our state and our nation should welcome and protect its immigrant families and that we must fight against the wave of intolerance that has risen in recent years. Before becoming governor, he led the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, a nationally recognized institution where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, police officers and others learn to fight bigotry and hatred. As governor, he has built the most diverse cabinet and governor’s office in Illinois history.

Governor Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker have been married for more than a quarter century, and they are the proud parents of two children.

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Jasmine Hooks

Chief Operating Officer

Jasmine Hooks is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Illinois Office of the Governor. Serving in this role since January 2019, Hooks acts as a liaison between state agencies, board and commissions. She oversees and coordinates major projects and events such as the State Capitol Renovation, the Illinois State Fair, and agency wide Curry Internship program, in addition to sitting on the Governor's Travel Control Board. Prior to becoming Chief Operating Officer, Hooks acted at the Director of Operation during the transition for Governor JB Pritzker and as the Lt. Governor's Director of Scheduling on the JB for Governor campaign.

As a woman of color, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work is a great passion and key value for Hooks. She is passionate about accessibility and LGBTQ rights and utilizes that lenses to approach work within her role as COO.

Hooks is a proud graduate of Marquette University and a Chicago native.

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The Hon. William J. Borah

Administrative Law Judge, Illinois Human Rights Commission

The Honorable William J. Borah has been a judge with the IHRC since 2009.  Several of his decisions have received national attention, and first impression, including Sommerville v. Hobby Lobby, one of his four cases addressing transgender issues.

Prior to joining the Commission, Judge Borah was in private practice for 27 years, as a founding partner of a firm concentrating in employment law.  In that capacity, he filed numerous public interest cases.  Those cases included opposing harassment of gay high school students, challenging the discharge of a 4o-year-old teacher for a pot conviction at the age of 19, and allowing the use of a transgender girl's name on her high school transcript.

Earlier in his career, Judge Borah worked for East Arkansas Legal Services, representing impoverished clients in mostly African American communities.  He also practiced for a time in Anchorage, Alaska where he won a constitutional case concerning inconsistent application of "good time" credit for the incarcerated.

Among his many bar leadership positions, Judge Borah was Chair of the ISBA Labor & Employment Law Section Council in 2005 – 2006.  He returned to serve again as Chair of the council in 2014 – 2015.  As president of the South Suburban Bar Association, Judge Borah was recognized by the ISBA for his work to enhance the Pro Bono Program at the Markham courthouse.  He was also recognized for his pro bono work on behalf of people with AIDS and his advocacy of the 2006 amendment to the Human Rights Act that added "sexual orientation" as a protected class.  In addition, Judge Borah has been a speaker, author, moot court trial judge, and the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions.

Prior to attending law school, Judge Borah attended college in Memphis, Tennessee.  As a student, he became involved with the civil rights movement the year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was active in student government and, two months after the Kent State killings, was elected chair of the Tennessee delegation of the National Student Association and assisted in organizing the March on Washington against the Vietnam War.

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The Hon. Charlotte A. Burrows

Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Charlotte A. Burrows was initially nominated to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014 and then re-nominated in 2019.  By unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed her to a second term ending in 2023.

Commissioner Burrows has advocated for strong civil rights protections and robust cooperation between the Commission, employers, and employees to advance equal opportunity in the workplace.  She seeks to enhance the Commission's enforcement of all laws within its jurisdiction, focusing in particular on initiatives to combat harassment, foster pay equity, and advance diversity and inclusion.  While at the Commission, she has worked to increase the agency's outreach to Native Americans, vulnerable immigrant and migrant communities, and other traditionally underserved populations.  In addition, Commissioner Burrows is particularly interested in the impact of technology and big data on civil rights and employee privacy.

Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Commissioner Burrows served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she worked on a broad range of civil and criminal matters, including employment litigation, voting rights, combatting racial profiling, and implementing the Violence Against Women Act, among others.

Commissioner Burrows previously served as General Counsel for Civil and Constitutional Rights to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee and later on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  During her time on Capitol Hill, she worked on a variety of legislative initiatives, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

Before working on the Hill, Commissioner Burrows held several roles in the Civil Rights Division's Employment Litigation Section at DOJ, including Deputy Chief of the Section.  There, she represented the United States in all phases of civil litigation, including trial, to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Earlier in her career, she served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP.

Commissioner Burrows received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

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Steven R. Cade

Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

Steve Cade is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He represents clients in a broad range of general corporate law and transactional matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions, venture capital financings and securities matters.  Steve represents clients across a range of industries, including manufacturing, technology, financial services, food and beverage, and health care. Steve is a member of the firm's Transactions Practice Group, and also a member of the firm's Manufacturing and Technology Industry Teams.

Steve has completed a significant number of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and other business combination transactions for a wide variety of clients, including Fortune 500 companies as well as private equity and middle-market publicly traded and privately held clients.

Steve has also counseled clients on the full spectrum of commercial matters affecting businesses, including licensing, purchasing/selling, lending, and distribution/agency. His clients include manufacturers and vendors of a diverse array of goods and services, including food and other consumer products, printing, software, tools, electronic equipment, and manufacturing equipment.

In addition, Steve also represents investors, including venture capital firms, family offices and angel investors in a number of emerging growth company investment transactions. He also regularly assists companies resident in Catapult Chicago, a technology incubator co-founded and sponsored by Foley, with various capital raises, including convertible note and SAFE financings, venture capital financings, angel investments and friends and family rounds.

AFFILIATIONS, PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND RECOGNITION

Steve is the Vice Chair of the Business Law Section of the Chicago Bar Association, and a member of the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association. He currently serves on the firm's Recruiting Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Council. In 2017, Steve was selected as one of The Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago by Crain's Chicago.

EDUCATION

Steve earned his law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he was the production editor of the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance and management with honors and distinction from Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

ADMISSIONS

Steve is admitted to practice in the state of Illinois.

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Lon D. Meltesen

Region V Director Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Lon D. Meltesen is the Regional Director for Region V Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lon earned a law degree from DePaul University College of Law, graduating with honors and as a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to obtaining his law degree, he attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, earning a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Political Science. Lon previously served as the Manager of the Fair Housing Division for the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) for four years, IDHR's Chief Legal Counsel for four years, and as a staff attorney for IDHR for over eleven years. His prior work experience also included working as a Research Attorney for the Supreme Court of Illinois, and as a Staff Attorney for Prairie State Legal Services, in St. Charles, Illinois.

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Cathy A. Pilkington, Esq.

Pilkington Law

Cathy Pilkington is a civil litigator who concentrates her practice in employment law and commercial litigation in state and federal court and practices in the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the EEOC and Illinois Human Rights Commission. She has served as the Continuing Legal Education Coordinator and Chair for the Labor and Employment Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association ("ISBA") and also as Chair of Faculty Development for the ISBA Standing CLE Committee. She defends and advises employers on general employment issues (i.e., employee handbooks, restrictive covenants, payroll, overtime and discrimination issues), agency audits and employment litigation and occasionally represents employees on employment-related matters.

She defends health care providers in general business and employment related disputes and advises and conducts trainings for health-care providers on HIPAA and other health-care related issues. She is knowledgeable in administrative law and regulatory requirements and has represented clients in proceedings before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and Centers for Medicare and Medicare.

A former prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Medicaid Fraud Division, she has command of substantive criminal law and procedure as well as experience navigating parallel proceedings issues which may arise when administrative, civil and criminal cases or investigations proceed simultaneously.

She has tried jury and bench trials in state and federal courts and has written and argued appeals in the Appellate Courts, Illinois Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

She is a member of the Women's Round Table at the Union League Club of Chicago and a member of the ISBA's Labor and Employment Section Council.

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Maurice Swinney, EdD

Chief Equity Officer, Chicago Public Schools

As the district's first Chief Equity Officer, Maurice is responsible for supporting CPS to achieve educational equity, a moral imperative for CPS. Prior to this role, Maurice served as the Principal of Chicago's Tilden Career Community Academy, where his focus on college readiness and social-emotional learning was recognized by the University of Chicago's Consortium on School Research. As Chief Equity Officer he is responsible for examining district policies and programs for inequities and implementing strategies that minimize gaps in resources, staffing, and high-quality academic programming. His leadership story is captured in the "Make or Break Year," a book about the work of freshman on-track in Chicago high schools.

Prior to joining CPS, Maurice was a teacher and school leader in Louisiana. Maurice holds a Bachelor's degree in English Education and Master's degree in Educational Leadership/School Principalship from Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Swinney has earned his EdD. in Public School Administration with a Superintendency endorsement from Oral Roberts University in Spring 2019.

His dissertation The Relationship Factors Between Parents/Guardians And Male Re-enrollees Who Graduate or Dropout a Second Time in a Chicago Public Alternative Program: A Phenomenological Approach exemplifies his commitment to ensuring the success of students who have been most marginalized by our education system.

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The Hon. Emanuel "Chris" Welch

Illinois House of Representatives

Emanuel "Chris" Welch has been a State Representative from the 7th District of Illinois since 2013. Welch serves on several key House Committees including Executive, Revenue, Cities and Villages, Counties and Townships, and Higher Education. Welch serves as Chair of the House Executive Committee. He previously served as Chair of the House Higher Education Committee where he lead efforts to pass historic legislation like the four year map grant award and the AIM High Scholarship. He also served as Co-Chair of Governor J.B. Pritzker's Educational Success Transition Committee.

As State Representative, Welch has focused on improving classroom education, creating jobs, helping the most vulnerable, and streamlining government. Welch has been the Chief Sponsor of several pieces of historic legislation including the law bringing cursive writing back to our schools, the Historic Illinois Trust Act, the Law making Illinois a Welcoming State for immigrants, and the Homeless Bill of Rights. Representative Welch is also a leading voice for adding black and brown people to the boards of publicly held corporations after sponsoring landmark legislation that requires Illinois corporations to annually disclose their board composition.

Welch has been recognized with several significant awards for his legislative record including the prestigious Zeke Giorgi Award from the AFL-CIO and the Friend and Education Award from the Illinois Education Association.

Prior to joining the General Assembly, Welch served 12 years on the Proviso Township High School Board of Education.  His last ten years he served as the Board Chair. Welch led the Proviso School Board in the creation of the Proviso Math and Science Academy, a school that today is recognized by Chicago Magazine and US News and World Reports. He did this all while balancing the schools budget for the first time since the early 90s.

Welch is a partner in the local government law firm Ancel Glink. Prior to that, he served as a partner at Sanchez, Daniels and Hoffman, LLP from 2007 to 2018 where he represented local school districts and municipalities. For his work in school, education and civil rights law, Welch has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and one of Chicago's Leading Lawyers.

Welch is a graduate of Proviso West High School ('89), Northwestern University ('93), and The John Marshall Law School ('97). He is a 2016 inductee into the JMLS Wall of Fame.

Welch is married to ShawnTe and has two children, Tyler and Marley.

Representative Welch believes that "He will always find a way, or make one."

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