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Page last updated on May 10, 2024 at 4:52 pm

For more information, please contact

Michael Shermis, Human Rights Commission Director, Community and Family Resources Department, or 812-349-3478. 


Justin Crossley, Digital Brand Manager, Office of the Mayor or 812-349-3406


In 1997, the Bloomington Human Rights Commission began annually recognizing individuals and groups who have made specific, significant contributions to improving civil rights, human relations, or civility in the community. In 2024, the Commission will recognize Byron Bangert and Building a Thriving Compassionate Community.


Byron Bangert, a retired academic, ethics consultant, and ordained minister, served on the Human Rights Commission for twenty-seven years, working to investigate complaints of local human rights violations and to educate and advocate in the field. In addition to his volunteer work with the Commission, his nominators highlight his “boundless service” over “many decades of volunteerism” with the Monroe County Red Cross, Hospice of Bloomington, South Central Community Mental Health Center, the Bloomington Hospital Institutional Review Board, United Way of Monroe County, the Community Justice and Mediation Center, the Bloomington 9/11 Working Group, and Monroe County United Ministries: “Byron represents the best of Bloomington’s vision for a safer, more inclusive, and more equitable society for all.” 


Building A Thriving Compassionate Community, or BTCC, is a network of individuals dedicated to identifying and addressing social problems in Monroe County. Begun in 2015, BTCC aims to promote an equitable society by offering trainings, resources, and opportunities for members to connect and collaborate. The organization’s nominator emphasizes that “their values and mission are centered on upholding human rights and redistributing power and resources so those in need have access.” 


Byron Bangert and representatives of BTCC will be celebrated on Wednesday evening, May 15, 2024, during the City Council meeting in Council Chambers at 401 N. Morton Street. The Bloomington/Monroe County Human Rights Commission stated, “We are deeply grateful for their work, passion, and dedication to human rights in our community.”


The mission of the Bloomington/Monroe County Human Rights Commission is to enforce the Bloomington/Monroe County Human Rights Ordinance in a fair and timely manner, to educate community members about their rights and responsibilities under various civil rights laws and to advocate for changes in policies and law.