Equity Specialist/Civil Rights Investigator
Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights
M’Balu “Lu” Bangura moved to Baltimore in 2018 from Tacoma, Washington, where she was a respected civil rights investigator. She’s already making a big impact in Baltimore, negotiating the highest settlement agreement in the history of the Community Relations Commission and becoming Baltimore’s first equity specialist.
Bangura implements the city’s equity initiative and investigates cases of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.
“As a first-generation American, I have witnessed the discrimination, bias and inequity surrounding immigrants and refugees firsthand,” she said. “I am very outspoken and decided to use that to help those whose voices are being suppressed to be heard. I want to not only empower those who feel victimized and underserved, I want to provide solutions to combat and reduce feelings of hopelessness.”
Bangura has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. John’s University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from New Jersey City University. She volunteers with the Special Olympics and the Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen, which is in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Bangura has earned her reputation as a tireless investigator. “I am always determined to discover the root cause of an issue and this allows me to be very thorough during my interviews, site visits and while reviewing documents,” she said. “I am also able to determine the appropriate alternative dispute resolution that will lead to a conclusion that leaves both parties satisfied with the results.”
Her mantra is tenacity out of toxicity. “Because of my job, I work with a lot of people who live and/or work in toxic environments. Those situations make you stronger. You can’t let them defeat you,” she said.
“I have had many obstacles get in my way as I have grown my career, but every toxic (discouraging) moment has built me up for the next positive and exciting step in my life,” she said. “I believe in working for tomorrow. Everything I do today will benefit me tomorrow if I do it well.”