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March 29, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Irene Cualoping has been appointed as the next Executive Director of the Illinois Human Rights Commission by the commission members.

"Irene Cualoping is an experienced businesswoman and a proven leader," Ryan said. "She stands behind my belief that Illinoisans should have an equal opportunity in life to achieve their goals."

Cualoping, 39, a native and current resident of Chicago, is presently Executive Director of the Business Enterprise Program for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. Prior to joining state government in 1992, she was an attorney for Chicago Title Insurance Company.

"Irene Cualoping is an experienced professional who has a diverse background and the drive to do what it takes to get the job done," said Council Chairman Rose Jennings. "I am pleased that she will now join in the Commission's efforts to achieve its mission in aiding the citizens of the State of Illinois."

Cualoping is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School and Loyola University of Chicago. Active in a variety of diverse professional, civic, arts, media and community organizations, she was appointed to the Minority and Female Business Enterprise Council in 1988, and served for over three years.

Cualoping is currently a member of the Chicago Board of Roosevelt University; president of Greater Chicago Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc., a 26-year-old national civil rights organization; founding director of Angel Island Theatre Company; and an advisory board member of the Chinese American Service League, Inc. She previously served as a columnist and photojournalist for the national publication Asian Week, and as most recent co-chair of the Asian American Coalition of Chicago.

The Human Rights Commission adjudicates complaints of civil rights violations in housing, employment, public accommodations and financial credit. Created by the Illinois Human Rights Act, which became effective July 1, 1980, the Illinois Human Rights Commission is dedicated to promoting freedom from unlawful discrimination as defined in the Act. The Act forbids discrimination based on sex, age, race, color, religion, arrest record, marital status, disability, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, unfavorable military discharge, retaliation and sexual harassment. The Act forbids discrimination in employment, real estate transactions, higher education, public accommodations and access to financial credit.

The Illinois Human Rights Commission consists of 13 members, who are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate.


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