Monday, September 21, 2015

Former Department of Fair Employment and Housing Ms. Phyllis Cheng of California

Ms. Phyllis Cheng
c/o DLA Piper LLP (US)
550 South Hope Street, Suite 2300
Los Angeles, CA  90071-2678
Dear Ms. Cheng,
My name is Matthew Winick, an Asian American from Ann Arbor, Michigan and I have a strong interest in studying history, culture, criminal justice, and social justice. These subjects are my favorite because I like to learn with understand the need to advance on Civil Rights to reduce discrimination, find ways to improve education to improve learning, protect the environment from pollution, and many others. Ms. Cheng, I find your work in education and later as a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to be very inspiring to me with your commitment to make a great difference.

When you served as a Title IX coordinator in the Los Angeles Unified School District I liked your commitment on finding ways to reduce discrimination based on gender and monitored Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make sure women were getting hired for jobs related in education including school administration without being discriminated.  In California, I liked on how worked hard to make California have a their own version of the federal law Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972 to ban discrimination in education based on gender or sex. I liked on how you worked on researching on finding ways to reduce school desegregation, help children including girls at risk get the care they need in your role as a director of a mentoring program in USC, helping Asian Americans including Asians communities grow, and being an advocate to help protect minorities, women, and people with disabilities’ rights from being discriminated.  In 2008, I was very proud of you accepting to be Director of Department of Fair Employment and Housing under Republican Governor Schwarzenegger and later continuing your role under Democratic Governor Brown.  When you became director of California DFEH I liked on how you reform the department by using technology to help citizens set up appointments or file a complaint to the department about the need to help assist them from being discriminated, create different resources to help educate the public about Civil Rights legislation with understanding about how to file Civil Rights compliance, and worked with different institutions including your department on training Civil Right lawyers including investigators on learning how to deal with Civil Rights cases along with helping them understand more about the need to make Civil Rights stronger. Also in your role, I liked on how you worked with people with disabilities and Law School Admissions Council on reaching a settlement by allowing test takers with disabilities get accommodations when taking an exam or taking a bar exam in a law school to reduce discrimination against people with disabilities in education.

Ms. Cheng, your work as an advocate and as California DFEH on finding ways to improve Civil Rights, make education more diverse, reform the department to improve combating against discrimination, and supporting protecting women, minorities, and people with disabilities’ rights from being discriminated inspires me to be interested in studying history with learning how Civil Rights is an important issue and to understand the need to advance it to make society better and to reduce discrimination. Your work on helping people with disabilities including test takers with disabilities to get protection from being discriminated on education or taking an exam for Law school by allowing them to get accommodations on taking exams inspired me to work hard on my disability which is Autism with a learning disability. Having Autism is hard because I have trouble comprehending on learning different subjects and sometimes I have trouble communicating when speaking with other people.  In education the ADA with special education program helped me get accommodations like extra time on exams, use educational software with recorder to help improve my comprehension or record lectures, allow tutors or T.A. help me work on assignments, and many others. Even these things helped me I had some difficulty because some schools including higher education had been hard at giving me accommodations when taking courses including homework with exams.  Your commitment to help people with disabilities gave me the confidence to continue working hard to study different subjects and feel comfortable having a disability. In May 2014, I graduated with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My main focus is history, government, some science, some business, and criminal justice system. My main goal is to use what I learn to find ways to make history a better place, teach people about the need for Civil Rights to help protect people who are different from discrimination, and work on ideas to improve society.  Also your work on helping Asian American including Asian communities on diversity helped me get interested in studying Asian American history with Asian history and culture and it gave me motivation to be proud of being an Asian American with a disability.

Ms. Cheng, you make a great example of what Civil Rights need to be to help protect people who are different like women, minorities, and people with disabilities from discrimination, implement laws to help protect women to be protected from being discriminated in education with jobs, reform DFEH on making them more effective on dealing with finding ways to reduce discrimination, help educate public about Civil Rights with their role in society.  I am proud to call you a true role model for me because you help inspire me to work hard on Autism, to feel confident about being an Asian American by having a strong interest in studying their culture when other Asian Americans or Asians tease me because they believe that I don’t fit well with them based on my disability, and have a strong interest in history with having a huge interest in studying Civil Rights with how they make society better.  I’m sending you a story about my life with a disability where I dedicate my story to you for working hard to make Civil Rights a better place and inspiring me to be interested in history. I want to wish you well at DLA Piper where you can continue advocating for equal opportunity, Civil Rights, and reform to help reduce discrimination and make our country a better place. Thanks for taking the time to read my letter, working hard to make a great difference for society with Civil Rights, and inspiring me.


Matthew B. Winick

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