Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced the establishment of the St. Cloud Area Human Rights Office. This office is created in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, the city of St. Cloud and its surrounding communities. The St. Cloud office will work to eliminate discrimination through public outreach, education and enforcement of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. “Illegal discrimination threatens the rights and privileges of the people of Minnesota and menaces the institutions and foundations of democracy,” said Gov.Pawlenty. “The St. Cloud Area Human Rights Office will help us ensure that this region can be a place where all people have the opportunity to live, work, and raise a family without being subjected to discrimination and intolerance.” The Minnesota Department of Human Rights enforces the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which protects the state’s inhabitants from illegal discrimination. Gov.Pawlenty spoke at St. Cloud City Hall on Monday morning during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and issued a proclamation establishing the St. Cloud Area Human Rights Office. "It is appropriate that this office would be established on the day we pause to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," said Velma Korbel, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. "This office is proof that St. Cloud and its community partners believe, as Dr. King stated so eloquently, that ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’" St. Cloud is currently one of only four cities in Minnesota that have local investigative powers with regards to human rights violations, joining Duluth, St Paul and Minneapolis. The new regional office will enhance current state and local efforts to enforce and investigate human rights violations beyond the boundaries of St. Cloud, and will be funded by local communities.