James H. Carr
Distinguished Scholar, The Opportunity Agenda
New York, New York
Mr. Carr is a top national consultant on housing finance, banking, and urban policy. In addition to his prominent role with The Opportunity Agenda, he also serves as Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. During his tenure as Chief Business Officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, he managed minority- and women-owned business centers in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Houston that assisted clients in accessing more than $1.8 billion in capital and $350 million in federal contracts. As Senior Vice President for Financial Innovation, Planning, and Research for the Fannie Mae Foundation, Mr. Carr built one of the most prestigious housing and urban policy research centers in the United States. Other top research, policy, and committee positions include appointments as Vice President for Housing Research at Fannie Mae, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Federal Credit with the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, Research Associate at the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, Executive Committee Member of Americans for Financial Reform, and Advisory Committee Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Center for Community Development Investments. Mr. Carr has testified on numerous occasions before the United States Congress on issues related to the economy, housing markets, financial system regulatory reform, and wealth disparities and economic mobility. He is particularly recognized for his knowledge about and leadership on development of financial instruments and strategies to promote sustainable affordable home lending, inner-city community and economic development, and wealth creation for lower-income households. As a recognized expert in his field, he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, MSNBC, FOX News, PBS, Newsweek on Air, and National Public Radio. Major newspapers, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, have quoted Mr. Carr or cited his notable research. He is the founder and former seventeen-year editor of the scholarly journal Housing Policy Debate (published by Rutledge Publishers), which was routinely rated one of the nation’s premier urban studies research journals by the Institute for Scientific Information. His recent books are Replicating Microfinance in the United States and Segregation: The Rising Costs for America.
The Opportunity Agenda was founded in 2004 with the mission of building the national will to expand opportunity in America. Focused on moving hearts, minds, and policy over time, the organization works with social justice groups, leaders, and movements to advance solutions that expand opportunity for everyone. Through active partnerships, The Opportunity Agenda synthesizes and translates research on barriers to opportunity and corresponding solutions; uses communications and media to understand and influence public opinion; and identifies and advocates for policies that improve people’s lives. The Opportunity Agenda encourages use of its Social Justice Communications Toolkit to assist with your efforts to create effective messaging for the advancement of greater equal opportunity.
Chief, Enforcement Branch, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Kansas City, Kansas
In her Chief position with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ms. Alexander is responsible for supervising and overseeing the enforcement of fair housing in connection with equal opportunity. In her area of expertise — civil rights — her sphere of enforcement responsibilities springs from Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and other relevant Executive Orders. In other Department roles, she worked as a Program Analyst, where she oversaw programs to include budget, training, and Fair Housing Assistance Partners. Prior to joining HUD, she served our country in another way — by spending eight years as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army. Her most memorable assignment was as an Operations Officer in Miami, Florida, with the responsibilities of qualifying and processing applicants for entry into the five Armed Services. Ms. Alexander holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Leadership.
Kylar W. Broadus
Director and Senior Policy Counsel, Transgender Civil Rights Project, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Kylar W. Broadus, a pioneer in the advancement of human rights for transgender Americans, made history in 2012 as the first out transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate when he spoke up in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was recently passed by the Senate. He is founder and director of the Trans People of Color Coalition, the only national organization dedicated to the civil rights of transgender people of color. An attorney and national leader in his focus area, Mr. Broadus is a founding member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute think tank, a Commissioner with the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission, a Division Director of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities section with the American Bar Association, a board member of the National Black Justice Coalition (chair for three years), and was active in the statewide LGBT group Missouri PROMO: Personal Rights of Missourians. An educator and author, Mr. Broadus shared his intellect as a professor at Lincoln University; and his groundbreaking essay, “The Evolution of Employment Discrimination Protections for Transgender People,” published in Transgender Rights has been required reading in gender, women’s studies, and law classes on numerous campuses around the country. In 2011, he was awarded the Sue J. Hyde Activism Award for Longevity in the Movement at the Task Force National Conference on LGBT Equality: Conference Creating Change. Most recently, Mr. Broadus was spotlighted on the 2013 “Out 100” list by Out Magazine.
Denise E. Gipson
Chief, Compliance Branch, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Kansas City, Kansas
Ms. Gipson has dedicated a twenty-five-year career to civil service. She began her federal work in 1987 with the Internal Revenue Service as a Taxpayer Service Representative and advanced into a position as Equal Opportunity Counselor. In 1994, she proceeded to the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission, where she investigated complaints of alleged civil rights violations in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Currently, as HUD’s Chief, Compliance Branch, Ms. Gipson is responsible for supervising and overseeing enforcement, compliance, and operational functions and responsibilities of fair housing in connection with equal opportunity and civil rights. Jurisdiction for this oversight activity comes from Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and other relevant Executive Orders. Her educational training includes two degrees: a< Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Arts in Leadership Management.
Rodney A. Harrison
Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
St. Louis, Missouri
For nearly two decades, Mr. Harrison has devoted his legal practice exclusively to the representation of companies in the area of labor and employment law. Mr. Harrison’s practice centers on counseling and advising clients on employment matters, such as work-related investigations, leave and attendance issues, and disciplinary and termination decisions. He has vigorously litigated labor and employment issues in federal and state courts throughout the United States, including individual and class action claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and represented employers in labor and employment arbitrations and administrative proceedings. Mr. Harrison has extensive experience advising clients in wage and hour audits with the Department of Labor, and he has assisted both governmental and non-governmental clients with labor arbitrations, contract negotiations, and union organizing. His client list spans our country’s major industries, including construction, steel, telecommunications, utility, chemical, pharmaceutical, health care, restaurant, distribution, and transportation. He regularly arbitrates cases, resulting in the resolution of issues between his clients and various unions, including the Steelworkers, Teamsters, Laborers, Operating Engineers, and Chemical Workers. Mr. Harrison has particular expertise in matters arising under the Railway Labor Act, including major/minor disputes, arbitration reviews, strike threats, union representation issues, and collective bargaining disputes.
Kristi L. Kingston
Partner, Bratcher Gockel & Kingston, L.C.
Kansas City, Missouri
Ms. Kingston’s law practice emphasizes plaintiff employment discrimination litigation; she has assertively represented clients asserting a violation of their rights connected to sex, pregnancy, age, race, disability, national origin, and retaliation discrimination. She has fought for clients in allegations of wrongful discharge, Equal Pay Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act violations, and personal injury suits, among others. For six consecutive years (2008-2013), Ms. Kingston has been named a labor-and-employment “Super Lawyer,” a designation awarded to attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement and given to just five percent of lawyers in Missouri and Kansas. The Kansas City Business Journal recognized Ms. Kingston as one of the “Best of the Bar” (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), and she was pegged as one of Missouri’s “Up and Coming Lawyers” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly in 2007. As a complement to her law practice, Ms. Kingston has been in and continues to serve in multiple leadership roles: President of the Kansas City Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA); Vice President of Eighth Circuit NELA; the Eighth Circuit representative to NELA’s Affiliate Relations Committee; immediate Past President of the Foundation of The Lawyers Association of Kansas City (LAKC); and past President of LAKC’s Board of Directors. Ms. Kingston is a 1997 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, a member of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and a member and past Board member of the Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City.
Fair Housing Accessibility Specialist
An architect for more than thirteen years, Mr. Kohring specializes in accessibility law, with particular expertise in design, construction, and enforcement. His education and experience with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations provide him the knowledge base from which to survey a facility and identify architectural barriers for people with disabilities, to red flag ADA compliance pitfalls, and to recommend solutions for the removal of obstacles and violations. During his tenure at Paraquad, a St. Louis-based organization striving to empower people with disabilities to increase their independence, Mr. Kohring developed his passion for helping individuals with disabilities live more independently in their homes through the design and coordination of home modifications. Most recently, Mr. Kohring worked to ensure equal access for people with disabilities as the former Fair Housing Accessibility Specialist for the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, a private, nonprofit fair housing organization serving the eight-county St. Louis metropolitan region in Missouri and Illinois. A 1997 graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Advanced Technical Studies in Architecture, and in 2011, completed advanced training through the National Fair Housing Alliance fair housing school.
Director of Investigative Operations, Missouri Commission on Human Rights
Jefferson City, Missouri
Mr. Krekel has devoted his career to furthering civil rights, having been employed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) for thirty-five years. As the Director of Investigative Operations, he developed the initial training program for new investigators and compiled the agency’s investigations manual. A major proponent of outreach and education as a means to advancing human rights, he extensively trains employers, employees, and other stakeholders in sexual harassment prevention, cultural awareness, and investigating discrimination complaints. Mr. Krekel’s vast knowledge of state and federal discrimination laws makes him an ideal contributor, influencer, and resident expert in the policies and practices of MCHR. He oversees agency operations statewide, manages program development, assists in strategic and budget planning, and serves as primary liaison between MCHR and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, managing a large work-sharing agreement between the two like-missioned agencies. He also serves a vital role in MCHR’s important partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through oversight of housing investigations dually filed with both the federal and state agencies. In recent years, his work with HUD has expanded, serving as Quality Assurance Coordinator developing training curricula in connection with the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project, an information campaign designed to educate Missourians about their fair housing rights and responsibilities, a program made possible by funding from HUD. A long-time active member in the central chapter of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare, Mr. Krekel’s efforts there have promoted the leadership, education, and advocacy necessary to improve public policies and programs impacting the health and welfare of Missouri’s citizenry. His educational achievements, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia, created a solid foundation for his professional commitment to civil rights enforcement.
L. Jack Vasquez, Jr.
Deputy District Director, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
St. Louis, Missouri
Judge Vasquez is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on the subject of civil rights and employment discrimination law. His long and distinguished tenure with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has led to his current prominent position as Deputy District Director in the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, with jurisdiction over Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and southern Illinois. He held responsibilities with the Commission as a Senior Trial Attorney prior to being appointed an Administrative Judge in 1999. Judge Vasquez’s significant contribution to the Commission also includes service as Acting Chief Administrative Judge, Acting Area Director, and Acting District Director. His dedication to the advancement of equal opportunity was recognized by the Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board’s Excellence in Government Award in Diversity. He is also the recipient of two EEOC Chair’s Opportunity to Reward Excellence Awards and the Commission Chair’s Award for Commitment to Excellence, honoring EEOC employees who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions to the Commission’s mission, strategic goals and objectives, and core organizational values. Before graduating magna cum laude from St. Louis University School of Law in 1983, he acted as Editor of the Saint Louis University Law Journal and was elected by the faculty to the Order of the Coif. He practiced extensively as a trial attorney in the area of civil rights and employment discrimination law prior to joining the EEOC, inclusive of litigating a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Alisa Warren, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Missouri Commission on Human Rights
Jefferson City, Missouri
The advancement of equality in our society has been a career cornerstone for Dr. Warren. In her leadership position at the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, her efforts focus on bringing greater understanding about anti-discrimination laws to the four corners of her home state. Throughout her career, Dr. Warren has worn many hats, all fashioned after a common theme: equal opportunity for all. Her professional positions are many and distinguished: Director of Diversity Initiatives for the University of Missouri; Executive Director for the Missouri Community Service Commission; National Marketing Manager for a minority-owned information technology firm; Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity for the State of Missouri, leading the state diversity initiative for women and minority employment and contract compliance; Director of the State of Missouri Supplier Diversity Program; and Minority Contracts Coordinator for the State of Missouri Division of Design and Construction. Dr. Warren’s post-secondary degrees—bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate — were all earned at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where her Ph.D. research delved into the understudied topic, “Successful Black Entrepreneurs.” Building networks between government, business, and advocacy groups is a main focus for Dr. Warren; she believes vibrant community partnerships are key to advancing social justice — and she strives to foster and strengthen those vital connections as a means to broaden fundamental freedoms.
As a board member of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies, Dr. Warren is pleased to welcome participants to our state celebration of International Human Rights Day. She encourages us to use this platform to strengthen our partnerships for social progress and to continue our work together to make advancements in the universal respect for and observance of human rights.