Aida Ramirez, '12, Is Director of Columbus Human Rights Commission
Determined to pursue a career in public service, Aida Ramirez, ’12, concentrated her job search in the not-for-profit sector. What she didn’t foresee was that in less than a year, she would be in the position of leading the non-profit organization she joined.
Ramirez learned of an opening for the deputy director on the staff of the Human Rights Commission in Columbus, Indiana. Since joining the Commission as deputy director in late 2013, Ramirez has been promoted to director following the director’s retirement.
“I’m not a bit surprised to see Aida in this position,” said IU McKinney Professor Florence Wagman Roisman. “I expect to see her become a national leader in protecting and advancing civil and human rights.” Ramirez was a research assistant to Professor Roisman while in law school.
While in law school, Ramirez “spent several years volunteering with a project directed at improving the process and substance of landlord-tenant proceedings in the small claims courts of Indiana. She did thorough, creative, effective work on that,” Professor Roisman said. “She was instrumental in helping to improve the new rules governing small claims courts.”
Ramirez was honored, along with three other IU McKinney students, for work toward improving landlord-tenant proceedings with special recognition at the 2013 Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase and Symposium at the IUPUI Campus Center.
Indeed, others outside campus were impressed with Ramirez.
“Her work so impressed Judge Louis Rosenberg that he hired her to work for him,” Professor Roisman said. Judge Rosenberg presides in Marion Circuit Court.
Columbus’ Human Rights Commission was established by a 1962 city ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in a variety of areas, including national origin, housing, and gender discrimination in employment. It is an enforcement agency in the city, which means that if the Commission determines that someone has been discriminated against, they can file a complaint under their own ordinance or rules, or draft a complaint to file with the Department of Labor, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Human Rights Commission also consults with other local agencies and provides education and outreach in the city.
Ramirez says she’s pleased to be in her new city.
“Columbus has a lot to offer,” she said. “It has a booming population, and has great cultural diversity, art, and architecture. I’m happy to be here, excited to make Columbus my home, and eager to help ensure equal opportunity and treatment for all citizens of Columbus. So far, so good!”