The Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center is thrilled to announce Philip Dalmage as the organization’s Executive Director.
Philip joins RMCLC having built his career fighting for a more equitable legal system. Born in London, England during the Windrush generation, Philip is the proud of son Jamaican migrants. His family later settled in the suburbs of New York City, where he attended secondary school, and excelled in both sports and academics. With the aid of scholarships, he obtained a BA in Criminal Justice from Marquette University, and a J.D. from what is now the University of Illinois, Chicago School of Law.
After passing the bar exam in both New York and Illinois, he spent nearly a decade as an ASA in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He later grew weary of the systemic injustice he witnessed as a prosecutor and shifted his focus towards a career in public service. Philip spent the next fifteen years running various successful programs and initiatives within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois Commission on Equity and Inclusion.
In 2018 Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Phil to his cabinet as the Executive Director of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The Commission is dedicated to promoting freedom from unlawful discrimination as defined by the Illinois Human Right Act. The Act forbids discrimination based on: sex, age, race, color, religion, arrest record, marital status, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, national origin, and countless other protected categories. In his first six months at the Commission Phil cleared an astounding five-year backlog of cases regarding human right violations. He continued to serve under Governor J.B. Pritzker through the summer of 2020.
Philip is also the proud father of two extraordinary children. His son Owen studies video game design at Columbia College Chicago, and his daughter Mahalia is an aspiring neurosurgeon currently enrolled at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He moved to Denver in 2021 with his wife Brenda, who works as the Executive Director of Adult and Services at Laradon.
A staunch advocate for immigrants, Black and Indigenous people of color, and various other marginalized populations, I have spent the better part of the last three decades striving for a more equitable legal system.
“I feel honored to be entrusted with this leadership position, and I feel invigorated to work alongside this talented and hardworking team of professionals. As my bio indicates, I spent nearly thirty years as a civil servant in the state of Illinois, where I held leadership positions in both the Office of Community & Positive Youth Development and the Department of Children and Family Services.
On a personal note, as the proud son of Black immigrants, and an even prouder father of two incredible Black children, I feel a personal calling to this line of work. To quote the late great Maya Angelou, “The Black American child must learn early to allow laughter to fill his mouth or the millions of small cruelties he encounters will congeal and clog his throat.” If my work has taught me anything, it is the simple fact that children’s rights are human rights, and we must find a way to center their dignity and joy.”