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Introduction To The
Morris Human Rights Commission

The Morris Human Rights Commission was established by the Morris City Council in 1997 to promote and encourage equal opportunity and fair treatment of all individuals. The Commission is committed to having the city of Morris known as an inclusive community that values diversity, protects the rights of all individuals, and strives to meet the needs of all individuals.

Eight citizens serve on the Commission -- seven are appointed by the City Council and one is an ex-officio representative of the Council.

The Human Rights Commission has six primary responsibilities:
  1. Identifying equity problems within the city.
  2. Educating the public about human rights issues.
  3. Responding to incidents of discrimination.
  4. Building relationships with school districts, agencies, and business and community organizations and enlisting their cooperation in an active program to create equal opportunity and eliminate discrimination and inequalities.
  5. Acting in an advisory capacity with respect to the planning or operation of any City department on issues of civil and human rights. Administering an appropriate grievance process.
  6. The Human Rights Commission responds to incidents of suspected bias in employment, housing, public accommodation, public services, education, credit, or business that are reported to the City of Morris or to the Morris Police Department.

The Human Rights Commission is currently working to educate the public on issues of diversity and to encourage diversity training for public employees. Representatives of the Commission serve on the Anti-Racism Task Force in Morris, a group that was organized in November, 1999, and includes representatives from several Morris churches and schools. The Task Force sponsored a "diversity Sunday" in Morris churches on April 9th, inviting churches to design and hold their own celebrations.

In April of 2000, the Human Rights Commission and the Morris Anti-Racism Task Force co-sponsored a Forum on Racism that was held at the Morris Citizens/Community Center and attended by more than 40 community members. The success of the forum led to an all-day workshop entitled "Dismantling Racism" that was held in March of 2001. About 40 representatives of community organizations, churches, businesses, and members of the public attended. The facilitator for both events was James Addington. Addington is co-director of the Minnesota Churches Anti-Racism Initiative, which is operated by the Minnesota, Greater Minneapolis, and St. Paul Area Council of Churches.

In October of 2001, the Human Rights Commission, the Morris Anti-Racism Task Force, and the Morris Area Schools co-sponsored the first-ever in-service diversity training for the 140 staff of the Morris Area Schools. The Human Rights Commission also writes a regular column in the Morris Sun-Tribune that is entitled "Notes from the Morris Human Rights Commission." Articles from the newspaper series are included in this web site.

The Commission holds regular monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. The meetings are open to the public. Members of the Human Rights Commission can also be contacted by calling the Morris City Hall.

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