Human Rights Commission Makes Report

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By Seth Kinker,

On Jan. 22 the Human Rights Commission (HRC) made their presentation to the Chelsea city council on results gathered from their survey last year.

The purpose of the HRC is to make recommendations to the city on ways to improve city programs and ordinances, research and develop programs for community education, study any complaints that are filed and reported to the city regarding human rights issues, and refer any complaints about discrimination to the city attorney.

For the survey, the HRC wanted to learn about residents of Chelsea’s perception of human rights priorities within the city and what issues the community wants the HRC to focus on.

In total, 690 surveys were collected with 11 local organizations responding as well. Just under 40 percent of the answers came from respondents ages 19 and under, with the HRC sharing the survey with the school. The age range of 40-59 was the second highest response with 35 percent. Just under 60 percent of the respondents came from Chelsea, with another 30 percent from an adjacent township.

The survey found that bullying (45.94%), racism (36.52%), and community diversity (37.54%) were the three main areas that those who answered believed the HRC should focus on.

In addition to identifying priorities for the HRC moving forward, it also asked open ended questions in regard to what Chelsea did well for human rights and social justice and what it could do better.

Survey results are available on the city website and will be used to formulate their annual plan presented to council for goals and plans for that year.

The HRC also has two openings as members Dave Gilbert and Lynn Fox both have chosen not to re-apply with their terms ending on Jan. 31.

Rod Anderson, a former city council member, was appointed to the HRC on Jan. 22. Despite being the only council member to vote against the human rights ordinance, Anderson explained his reason for applying at the Jan. 22 council meeting.

“My role is to make the non-discrimination ordinance work,” said Anderson at the Jan. 22 council meeting. “I make no bones about the fact I’m a social conservative, I opposed the non- discrimination ordinance. Nevertheless, it is now law. One of the things I’ve found out in my sporadic attendance, health issues allowing, is that the individuals on this commission are tryin really hard to make it work as well.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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