CITY OF PORTLAND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500 Portland, OR 97204
Mission: The Human Rights Commission works to eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships and to foster greater understanding, inclusion and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland. In doing so, the Human Rights Commission is guided by the principles embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights Commission (HRC) session minutes
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Commissioners present: Allan T. Lazo; Aimee Samara Krouskop; Deyalo Bennett; Donita Fry; Emily G. Gottfried; Hector Lopez; Mayra Arreola; Moloy K. Good; Stephen Manning; Abdul Majidi; Ashley Horne; Christine Rontal; Kyle Busse; Donna D. Maxey.
Absent: Damon Isiah Turner ; Emily G. Gottfried
1. Welcoming at Oregon Holocaust Resource Center
Human Rights Commission Chair Alan Lazo and Commissioner Gottfried opened the August session by introducing Oregon Holocaust Resource Center’s Exec Dir. Sonia Marie Leikam. Ms. Leikam introduced some of her present staff, then presented a brief history of the Center and of the local contributing community. Ms. Leikam then discussed OHRC programs and projects. Some discussion followed among HR Commissioners and OHRC’s director, including the OHRC’s interest in presentations of genocides worldwide outside of Jewish history. Commissioners moved and approved a motion to explore an official contribution to the organization for OHRC’s programs in alignment with the Commission’s mission.
Approval of Agenda and Minutes
Commissioners moved and approved a motion to amend proposed agenda, moving public comment forward, allowing for more time for Commissioners still in transit from the Holocaust Memorial.
Michael Tabor, Portland civic activist and videographer for www.joeanybody.com commented on Portland Police Bureau “stop-and-talk” witnessed and documented by Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch -- a march on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd involving MOMS (Movement of Mothers-Survivors) walked into a police/African American youth.
Mr. Tabor also commented on City of Portland, Office of Equity and Human Rights director not attending proceedings of the HRC.
Approval of Agenda and Minutes (revisit)
Correction in Item 5 of August HRC minutes. Correction to the record: Commissioner Gottfried was present at August HRC and voted to not approve of HRC 2012-2015 Strategic Plan
Discussion on HRC Memorandum of Understanding
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing expectations and protocols between the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) and the Human Rights Commission has duly circulated among HRC and OEHR management.
Lengthy and detailed discussion followed on the most appropriate and effective level of concreteness and/or conceptual abstraction (generality) at which the MOU should state its provisions.
HRC members contributing to this MOU are meeting with OEHR director on Aug 6, 2012, for amendments and approval, and will distributed revised document to HRC.
Announcement of hiring an OEHR deputy director, followed by recollections of earlier discussion OEHR staff dedicated to HRC would be a public employee at level deputy director. Update that HRC staff to be hired would serve both the HRC and the Citywide Equity Council (CEC).
Discussion followed on concerns over dilution of HRC resource commitment if new staff had dual HRC/CEC responsibilities. Also concerns over distinctly different skill sets necessary for the dual HRC?CEC assignments.
Discussion engaging all HR Commissioners moved to providing direction to HRC representatives about to meet with OEHR director, negotiating MOU terms. HR Commissioner concerns included the Commission’s autonomy; the Commission’s authority and resources to fulfill the HRC mission; perceived past and present structural conflicts mitigating HRC autonomy, authority, and capacity.
Discussion moved into provisional consensus on moving forward with present motion and present resources.
Discussion on HRC organizational structure
HRC Chair presented proposed organizational chart (attached)
Discussion followed on subcommittees, and the possible lack of by-law authority for this level of organization; that some committee work was not reflected in the draft; that HR Commissioners should chair committees and task groups. Discussion also covered the commissioner-interest-driven nature of committees and task groups. Discussion ended with commissioner term limites determining the duration of committee and task group work. And that 5 commissioners’ terms are ending this autumn.
Committee and Liaison Updates
Community and Police Relations Committee reported on their session at Miracles, Inc.
Communications and Engagement Committee updated plans on City Commissioner candidtates forum on Sept 9 at 7:30pm at the Community Music Center. And their planning for a Human Rights recognition event on Dec 10, at 11:30am at NW Natural Gas