Biography of Tanya A. Hughes

Tanya Hughes was named Executive Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities on November 13, 2013. She has had a distinguished career at the Commission, including four years as an investigator and staff attorney. Hughes has provided consistent and effective leadership which has been very instrumental in propelling the agency to successfully meet the tenets of its mission. Her administration has focused on increasing staffing levels and improving relations with the public and other agencies. Since her appointment, she has been an active member on the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, leading to CHRO’s inclusion on the notification slip issued to drivers during a traffic stop. The Diversity & Inclusion committee was established during her tenure and is now a vital resource for Connecticut residents for informative and useful information. The CHRO serves as an advocate for civil rights in Connecticut and as a source of education for the public about human and civil rights issues and laws, and the services provided by the agency.  CHRO sponsors various programs to raise the consciousness of youth regarding civil and human rights issues such as Connecticut Kids Court and Kids Speak and the CT Kids Court Academy. The CHRO also serves as a resource providing sexual harassment and civil rights law training to businesses, municipalities, housing authorities, housing providers and non-profits throughout the state, under its Business Training Institute. 

During the 2021 session, the Connecticut General Assembly provided the CHRO with $4 million to conduct a disparity study and an equity study. The disparity study, the funding for which the CHRO has been advocating for years, will examine the state's set aside program and analyze whether small and minority owned businesses can fully participate in state contracting without encountering unfair or discriminatory barriers. The equity study enabling legislation requires the CHRO to oversee a study of equity in state government programs and actions. The enabling legislation placed the CHRO in charge of the studies, in consultation with the Department of Administrative Services.

During her tenure as Executive Director, CHRO was awarded numerous FHIP/FHAP Partnership grants to promote the collaborative work of both CHRO and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the 75th Anniversary celebration of the agency, US Senator Richard Blumenthal recognized CHRO in the Proceedings and Debates of the 115th Congress, entering into the Congressional Record, the many accomplishments achieved in the areas of advocacy, education, research, and assistance. CHRO has resumed and strengthened its memberships with the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAORHA), and federal partners through EEOC annual and regional conference/trainings, Fair Housing Association of CT, annual Housing and Civil Rights trainings and developed a new Diversity & Inclusion Committee while providing continual trainings during this unprecedented pandemic.

Tanya is married to Larry Hughes, and they are proud parents to three adult daughters. Tanya has much to be proud of but is most proud of being able to serve as a positive role model and influence on the children. She tries to live by the scripture "What does the law require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly….” (Micah 6:8)