Equal Rights Center
We’ve been advancing civil rights for more than 30 years. Help us protect them for the future. Find out how >>

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History

Girls in a circleThe ERC began as the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington in 1983. Although the organization was founded with a focus on discrimination in housing, throughout the years, the organization’s mission has grown and programs have expanded to encompass more programs and issue areas.

Joined by the Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington in 1999, the ERC expanded the scope of its programs to include discrimination in both the workplace as well as in public accommodations.

In 2005, the ERC expanded again, joined by the Disability Rights Council and its membership, to grow its programs protecting the civil rights of persons with disabilities.

In response to an ever more divisive debate over immigration, in 2006, the ERC introduced its Immigrant Rights Program.

Recgonizing an evergrowing practice of proactive collaborations with the business community, in 2012, the ERC formed the Corporate Partnerships and Training Program in order to work with private businesses to integrate civil rights in general, and accessibility for people with disabilities particularly, into their business cultures.  

Today, the ERC and its members are dedicated to advancing civil rights for all individuals through education, research, testing, counseling, advocacy, and enforcement.

The ERC is a membership organization with members located in every state and the District of Columbia.  ERC members play an integral role in the advancement of civil rights across the country. As the eyes, ears, and voice of the ERC, our members expand outreach and education to new communities, identify issues of discrimination as they develop, assist in the implementation of investigations, and provide much-needed financial support for the ERC. 

Learn more about our various program areas, and how you can help us advance civil rights.

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