February 21, 2012
Five members of Charlottesville's Dialogue on Race committee have resigned from their positions, many of whom say they're tired of waiting for the city to take action.
"I was disappointed because I felt that they don't have a sense of urgency," said Gloria Rockhold, who said she's not leaving the committee with hard feelings. "I wanted to see more tangible action and institutionalized action that we could actually show to people."
Rockhold and other members are upset with City Council's recent decision to hold off on forming a human rights commission. Councilor Kristin Szakos understands their frustration.
"It's not a failure to create a commission, it's really a process to create a commission. I'm sorry that we didn't do it faster," she told CBS19. "I was ready to move forward with it now, but we didn't have the votes for that. But what we do have now is a process to make it happen."
Two weeks ago, City Council established an 11-member task force that, over the next 10 months, will be responsible for studying how a human rights commission would work and receive complaints of discrimination in the city. The city began accepting applications for that task force last week.
"What I'm hoping will come out of this is their understanding that this is actually a process that could help them," Szakos explained.
While Rockhold ultimately agrees that will happen, the time frame in which it will occur is different than what she and some of her colleagues had in mind.
"We wanted there to be something that was lasting and was going to be an opportunity for many people to have recourse in the face of discrimination," she said.
Rockhold says she'll find other ways to make her impact in the city. Meanwhile, the chair of the Dialogue on Race tells CBS19 the committee will replace the members who resigned to keep a varied voice in the discussion.
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