City of Austin names Carol Johnson as first Civil Rights Officer

The city of Austin has named Carol Johnson as the city’s first civil rights officer. Johnson will take up her new position on February 16, 2021.

“I am honored to be named Austin City’s first civil rights officer and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that arise in running the city’s civil rights office to help Austin residents bring about racial and social justice and inclusion to offer “, said Dr. Johnson.

The civil rights officer will report to the deputy city administrator and will develop and oversee a clear vision for the civil rights office, advance the city’s non-discrimination efforts, and promote public relations, education and awareness-raising events for businesses and stakeholders in the community. She will be responsible for supporting departmental programs and initiatives related to all six strategic outcomes described in the 2023 Strategic Orientation.

“I am thrilled to have Carol Johnson join our team as the city’s first civil rights officer. Her extensive civil rights experience will help advance the division’s programs of goals, guidelines and best practices that address racial and social justice Justice is about justice and inclusion for the residents of the city of Austin, “said Deputy City Administrator Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde.


The city of Austin has named Carol Johnson as the city’s first civil rights officer. (City of Austin / FOX 7 Austin)


Johnson previously served as the executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission and served in a bipartisan capacity under the last three Arkansas governors, according to an Austin city press release. She has nearly 20 years of public administration and business management experience and was instrumental in developing a newly formed civil rights agency that oversees 75 counties in Arkansas.

Ms. Johnson also previously served as director of civil rights for the state of Oregon, director of programs and compliance for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and previously advised state labor commissioners on civil and labor rights issues in Oregon and Arkansas.

Other highlights from Ms. Johnson’s background include:

  • Founding director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission.
  • Former Chairman of the Arkansas Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission.
  • Former gubernatorial appointee for the Oregon State Public Safety Training and Standards Task Force, established to address concerns about racial inequality in interactions between law enforcement and black people.
  • Former Mayor of the Portland Police Citizen’s Review Committee, an advisory body to the Independent Police Review (IPR) and the Portland Bureau’s Internal Affairs Committee.
  • Current 2nd Vice President of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA), an international association with the power to provide opportunities and forums for the exchange of ideas and information between member agencies and other human rights defenders.
  • Ms. Johnson holds a Juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law and degrees from the University of Arkansas and Texas Christian University.

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