WRVO | October 27, 2017 | Payne Horning
Some Utica residents are trying to resurrect the city’s now defunct human relations commission. They say it’s needed now at a time when divisiveness and incidences of hate crimes are on the rise.
Utica leaders created the city’s human relations commission back in 1964, with positions for an executive director and an advisory group consisting of 12 members. It was designed to combat discrimination and foster equality and justice for the city’s diverse community.
But Diane Berry with CNY Citizens Action, a grassroots community advocacy group, says unfortunately it’s been inactive since the 1990’s.
“We think this is a real need,” Berry said. “We would like to see the city progress, and one of the areas we would like to see it progress is in the outcomes for various groups that have very low economic and health outcomes right now – minorities and groups like that.”
Berry says the goal would be to get the city and potentially Oneida County involved in reviving and funding the commission.
There are more than a dozen human relations commissions in the state, including in Syracuse and Onondaga County and the city of Auburn.