July 20, 2014
Since their first meeting back in November of last year, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been working on fulfilling their purpose of acting as a strong advocate for justice and equal opportunities for people in Charlottesville.
“We've been busy and we are doing our best, like I said, to make sure we set up a strong foundation for the commission because we want to make sure that this commission can continue to move forward in a strong and positive way,” says Aidyn Mills, chair of the HRC.
Mills says they also work with the office of human rights to help solve those issues.
“The human rights office deals with individual complaints,” says Mills. “The commission, we deal with systemic issues, so we investigate issues of discrimination on an institutional level.”
She says that despite what many think, the HRC and the Office of Human Rights are necessary tools for the city of Charlottesville as the diverse population continues to grow.
“A lot of that has to do with the unique history of Charlottesville,” says Mills. “We've had, maybe a good way to put is a tumultuous past with respect to race relations in the African American community here.”
“I think we are still in a period of repair and reconciliation.”
On Monday night they will bring an updated report to Charlottesville City Council to show what has been done so far as well as complaints that have come into the office of human rights.
“I think a lot of what they have been doing is organizing; pulling together the commission itself, beginning to have meetings, sort of look at what their charge is and seeing what sorts of things are coming to them so they can plan on how to respond,” says Kristin Szakos of the Charlottesville City Council. “This is a good time for us to hear from them because it gives us a window of where they are in that process and to weigh in on some of what the plans are going forward.”
Going forward the HRC wants to work on outreach and education. Making sure people know who they are and how they can help.