Chelsea’s HRC Rolling Up Its Sleeves for the Coming Year


Chelsea’s Civil Rights Commission has a busy year ahead of them.

On January 19, 2016, Chelsea City Council adopted a Non-Discrimination Ordinance (No. 175). Chapter 33 of the city’s Code of Ordinances begins with the intent.

It is the intent of the city that no individual shall be denied equal protection of the laws; nor shall any individual be denied the enjoyment of his or her civil or political rights or be discriminated against because of actual or perceived age, color, disability, familial status, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, height, disability status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, veteran status, or weight.

Section eight of Chapter 33 is a provision that calls for the formation of a Civil Rights Commission, which was established a year later on January 17, 2017. Over its seven-year history, the Civil Rights Commission has steadily increased its work in the community.

Councilmember Tony Iannelli is the council's representative to the HRC and presented its 2023-24 plan for council approval at its February 21, 2023 meeting.

“I really appreciate seeing the plan for the upcoming year,” commented Mayor Pacheco. “It has grown over the years, and it's more nuanced and complicated as our city responds to events, which is fantastic.”

The HRC’s 2023-24 plan is as follows:

Internal Activities

1. Hold a work session to orient new members and discuss challenges and opportunities for the Human Rights Commission in the coming year.

2. Review Chelsea’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance and formulate recommendations to City Council about possible revisions to facilitate the effective functioning of the Commission.

3. In conjunction with City Council, discuss ways in which the Commission might contribute to strengthening police/community relations and communications. Ask Police Chief Kazyak to visit with the HRC to discuss these items and to provide an update on the Strategic Planning Group.

4. In partnership with City Council and City staff, complete an organizational systems review (for example the MDCR Organizational Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment Tool) to assess the City’s current practices and policies concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion, as recommended in the Michigan Department of Civil Rights final report on the May 2021 training.

External Activities

1. Continue to identify and recommend training and education resources for community members, City staff and officials on topics such as civility, bullying, racism, and implicit bias.

2. Continue to communicate with Human Rights Commissions and related organizations in other localities to share information and resources.

3. Take advantage of opportunities to raise awareness of the functions and activities of the Commission by participating in community events such as the Chelsea Expo, Farmers Markets and summer festivals. Provide presentations to local organizations, as requested, on the work of the HRC.

4. Work with local organizations to commemorate Juneteenth and Gay Pride Month.

5. Participate in planning and carrying out a community-wide Martin Luther King Day celebration in collaboration with other community organizations.

6. Explore the feasibility of implementing a Civility Month program in partnership with other organizations in the fall of 2023, similar to the series of events in November 2021.

7. Provide regular information regarding the work of the HRC and related events to the City Manager for posting on the Chelsea social media accounts.

HRC Chair Susan Morrel-Samuels was in attendance and briefly told the council how based on last November’s successful collaboration with other community groups for Civility Month, the commission will be looking to continue such networking.

The council unanimously approved HRC’s 2023-24 plan.

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