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Human Relations Commission gains footing, looks ahead

Human Relations Commission gains footing, looks ahead

February 17th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

FILE: The Human Relations Commission held its first meeting in January since it was recently resurrected and saw a good turnout of councilpersons and some from the community at large. A few of the commission members are, from right, Patsy Johnson, Kennette Goodman, Raymond Lee and at left are Makele Ndessokia, Mitchell Woodrum and Jane Barnes.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

While the Jefferson City Human Relations Commission finalizes administrative items, commissioners are looking toward fundraisers and long-term events.

Commissioners were eager to plan events and guest speakers during Friday's meeting. But before they can focus their attention on these items, they have to finalize the commission's bylaws and mission statement.

As part of the bylaws, they will decide the operation and makeup of the commission.

One suggestion included enacting subcommittees to focus on specific work, such as education, social media and funding.

Funding was a prime talking point during Friday's meeting as the commission decides how to pay for events this fiscal year.

Since the Jefferson City Council revived the commission after the start of the fiscal year — Nov. 1 — the city does not have funds budgeted specifically for the commission and its projects.

The commission can approach city staff and the Jefferson City Budget Committee later this year about setting aside funds for future years. They also can request a supplemental appropriation if the commission needs funds this fiscal year.

Last month council members encouraged commissioners to raise funds and apply for grants. Several commissioners suggested fundraising, not only to raise money for future events but to also increase awareness of the recently resurrected group.

Commissioner Andria Hendricks said individuals and businesses know the commission has limited resources and would be willing to help.

"The community can have the perception that people don't care about what's going on, but oftentimes, they don't know. So it's so important to be inclusive in our approach to make sure everyone who wants to be involved knows how to get involved," she said. "Oftentimes, if there is a mission to accomplish — which the Human Relations Commission's main objective is to educate and be inclusive — I think people will get behind and say, 'This is something we want to stand behind and do.'"

Money raised would help the group with its first focused commission project. While commissioners do not know yet what that project looks like, they plan to discuss it at future meetings.

Some commissioners recommended they also look at annual events, whether those be fundraisers or conferences hosted specifically by the Human Relations Commission.

Commissioners said they would like to hear residents' comments and ideas. Residents can contact the Human Relations Commission at its new email address, jcmohrc@gmail.com.