The Morris Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, so for the next 15 weeks, we will be sharing a series of articles with you in honor of this milestone. Each week, we, with help from others in our communities, will be addressing a different topic as it pertains to human rights. We hope to start conversations, educate ourselves and others, and raise awareness about human rights issues, both locally and beyond.
This week, we would like to introduce you to the Commission and let you know a bit more about our role. The Morris Human Rights Commission was established by the Morris City Council in 1997 to promote and encourage equal opportunity and fair treatment of all individuals. The MHRC is committed to having the city of Morris known as an inclusive community that values diversity, protects the rights of all individuals, and strives to meet the needs of all individuals.
Eight area citizens serve on the Commission. Seven are appointed by the City Council, and one is an ex-officio representative of the City Council. Individuals from all backgrounds and areas of the community are encouraged to participate, serving three year terms.
The Human Rights Commission has six primary responsibilities:
1. Identifying equity problems within the city.
2. Educating the public about human rights issues.
3. Responding to incidents of discrimination.
4. Building relationships with school districts, agencies, and business and community organizations and enlisting their cooperation in an active program to create equal opportunity and eliminate discrimination and inequalities.
5. Acting in an advisory capacity with respect to the planning or operation of any city department on issues of civil and human rights. Administering an appropriate grievance process.
6. Responding to incidents of suspected bias in employment, housing, public accommodation, public services, education, credit, or business that are reported to the City of Morris or to the Morris Police Department.
The MHRC holds regular monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings are open to the public, and provide a safe space to discuss issues or concerns relating to human rights locally. Issues presented are gathered by both Commission and community members.
The Commission annually accepts nominations for the Thomas B. McRoberts Human Rights Award, honoring Morris area residents or groups who have shown a strong commitment to human rights locally. Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2012 award, and are due by Friday, Nov. 9. Forms are available online at www.ci.morris.mn.us/mhrc, or at the Morris City Office.
The MHRC also sponsors and participates in a variety of other community events, including the Human Rights Essay Contest, the Martin Luther King Day of Service at UMM, and local fairs and expos. Members are available to speak with individuals or groups who are interested in learning more about human rights and the work of the local Commission.
We welcome your questions, comments and feedback. You can reach the Morris Human Rights Commission by contacting a member directly, contacting the Morris City Office, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us online at www.ci.morris.mn.us/mhrc, or follow us on Facebook for more information. Stay tuned for next week's article as we talk about ways for YOU to get involved in this important work!
Morris Human Rights Commission members are Roland Guyotte, Becki Jordan - Chair, Ron Kubik, Jeff Miller - City Council Representative, Tracy Peterson and Ann Streed.