The Tennessee Human Rights Commission is charged with the responsibility of verifying that all state governmental entities that are recipients of Federal financial assistance comply with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pursuant to the State of Tennessee Public Acts, 2009 Public Chapter No. 437. In addition, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission is authorized to define and establish the components, guidelines, and objectives of a comprehensive state policy to ensure and promote present and future compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000(d).
A few of the duties and responsibilities assigned by statute to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission are as follows:
- Review current Title VI monitoring and enforcement procedures as reflected by federal and state statutes, rules, regulations, programs, services, and budgetary priorities;
- Define and establish the components, guidelines, and objectives of a comprehensive state policy to ensure and promote present and future compliance with Title VI requirements;
- Serve as the central coordinating agency for executive branch departments and agencies for technical assistance, consultation, and resources to encourage and assist compliance with the requirements of Title VI;
- Investigate allegations of noncompliance with Title VI; and
- Report annually to the Governor and the Tennessee General Assembly concerning the commission’s activities, findings, and recommendations.
Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title VI provides that:
“No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits, or be subjected to discrimination under any program activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C. §2000(d).
Title VI was included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to establish a national policy of nondiscrimination. The State Attorney General of Tennessee on May 28, 1992 issued opinion no. 92.47 to give state agencies and their subrecipients general information concerning the federal law.
The Tennessee Human Rights Commission has a director to provide training and technical assistance to state agency Title VI coordinators. Title VI coordinators are responsible for implementing their Title VI plans and strategies. There is a close working relationship between the director, coordinators and management in the executive branch departments.