Charlottesville commission on human rights, diversity2
Charlottesville Commission OnHuman Rights, Diversity, & Race Relations Presentation to Charlottesville- Albemarle Chapter of the NAACP January 9, 2012
The Origins• Dialogue on Race 2008-City Council Initiative• Study Circles-Action Forum: Commission idea came from this• DOR four Work Groups: Education, Government, Social/Cultural, Economi c• Government Group Action Team: Policy Action Team, Ex-Offender Team, City Employees Team• Working on ideas like the Commission, Racial Impact Statement
Dialogue on Race Mission Statement• Our mission is to engage every segment of our community in an open, honest, on-going discussion of race, racism and diversity and to identify problems and propose concrete solutions and paths to action that promote racial reconciliation, economic justice and equity.
Human Rights Commission• Developed from DOR process• Policy Action team diverse• Spent 9 months researching• Action team examine what other localities were doing to respond substantively to institutional racism• Places like Albuquerque, NM; Fairfax, VA; Prince Williams, VA; Alexandria City, VA, State of Iowa, had human rights ordinances and Commissions with teeth
Cville Race Initiatives Background• Several previous attempts to implement a Human Rights Commissions in Charlottesville since the 1970s, all failed.• 1976 the Department of Community Development/NDS did a report on race relations in Charlottesville.• 1985 there was a study done on Race and Education in Charlottesville• 2003 There was the Citizens for a United Community initiative• 2008 the Dialogue on Race initiative• 2010-11 there have been several major studies on issues pertaining to race• 2010 The Dialogue on Race Policy Action Team proposes Charlottesville Commission on Human Rights
Human Rights Commissions• Human Rights Commissions are based on federal and state anti-discrimination laws banning discrimination• By race, religion, gender, age, disability in• Private employment• Housing• Private education• Public accommodations• Credit
Proposed Charlottesville Commission• Asks Council to enable anti-discrimination in local law in private employment & housing mirroring EEOC and HUD regulations• 7 member permanent commission• With power to enforce ordinances through complaint process, investigatory process, possible hearings, and determinations with ability to give recourse to victims of discrimination• Protect businesses and landlords from false allegations
Proposed Charlottesville Commission• Commission would also have educational & out reach role (much like current Dialogue on Race)• Could investigate trends, conduct studies, hold informational hearings, advise Council on race issues• Proposed staffing includes Director, investigator, administrative assistant (modeled on Cville Planning Commission)
Determining Need for Commission In Charlottesville• First looked at Cville history (e.g., slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation and Massive Resistance, Vinegar Hill, Public Housing, recent events)• Consulted with Community organizations that deal with discrimination: NAACP Exec. Comm., QCC, Legal Aid, Piedmont Housing, etc.• Asked if there was a need for such a Commission-YES!• Consulted with Fairfax Director of Equity Programs, Dir. VA Council Human Rights, Albuquerque Office, Iowa City w/Commission• Asked if Commission Ordinances conflicted with Dillon Rule in VA-Informed it did not
Determining Need for Commission• Consulted with a variety of minority leaders in the Community and received encouragement for Commission• Consulted a variety of recent reports on race and poverty:• Report on poverty in Charlottesville ,Schuyler, R. & Hannan, M., A Declaration of Independence: Family Self‐Sufficiency in Charlottesville Virginia
Determining Need for Commission• Charlottesville/Albemarle Commission on Youth and Families (2011), Task Force on Race Disparities and Disproportionality in Youth Services, concludes there are significant inequity by race in child welfare, physical health, & mental health in our area.
Determining Need for Commission• "Public Housing in Charlottesville: The Black Experience in a Small Southern City," Harris, Sr. and Olmsted (http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/schwartz/vhill/harris.ht ml), state:• “Over time, race-specific decisions in the city have resulted in segregated public housing.... discrimination related to race is a reality in Charlottesvilles public housing. First, racial discrimination is evidenced by public policy that has limited the opportunity for fair housing. Second, racial discrimination is clearly present when considered on a spatial or site-specific basis.”
Determining Need for Commission• the University and Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) report, Call for Reaction and Reflection, concluded:• "Continuing racial discrimination: Around the community at large, and among many staff members who work at UVa, the perception of mistreatment is widespread, as is the sense that it is either useless to complain because nothing will change, or unwise to complain for fear of retaliation." and, "The significant local problems involving racial disparities such as housing, education, and youth well-being, employment and income, and health, attract little interest… ."
Determining Need for Commission• Received statistics from EEOC on complaints in our area:• As of 10/14/2011, in FY2010 total of 42 charges filed against Respondents in Charlottesville, VA. Of those, 36 were closed and 6 are open.• For FY2011, 49 charges, 12 of which were closed and 37 which were still open as of 10/14/11.
Determining Need for Commission• "Obtaining precise estimates of the prevalence of workplace discrimination is difficult because not all discrimination is reported. By all accounts, many employees prefer to resort to self-help or avoidance rather than pursue a claim against a discriminatory employer. Thus data based on official, formal complaints are underestimates of the prevalence" (Goodman- Delahunty & Foote in Evaluation For Workplace Discrimination and Harassmen,t 2011,p. 11).
Determining Need for Commission• At Base are perceived injurious experiences-the broad mass of injuries that people recognize.• Some proportion of these experiences become grievances: injuries that involve a violation of right or entitlement. Grievances can be thought of as 100% of the potential claims, for without a violation of right or entitlement individuals will not seek redress.• Only some grievances become claims: when an individual contacts the party responsible for the grievance.
Determining Need for Commission• Fewer still are disputes: when the party allegedly responsible for an individual’s claim denies their responsibility.• Some number of disputes results in filings: a formal complaint• and the smallest category of all is made up of trials: cases that are adjudicated”
Determining Need for Commission• Cases drop out …at a rapid rate.• Only 70% of people with grievances press them to a claim• Only 46% pursue a grievance to the level of dispute,• Only 5% of grievances lead to filing a lawsuit,• and only 0.06% of grievances end up in trial.
• Galanter (1983) summarizes other literature about the variables that affect probabilities: The wealthier and better educated are more likely to make claims and pursue them to court, as are those individuals who have terminated their relationship with the party with whom they have a grievance" (p. 16).• if one were to use this formula with the data from the EEOC provided above, it would indicate we have a much higher demand and justification for the Commission.
Determining Need for Commission• Nielsen and Nelson (2005) continue:• "Deciding whether or not one should make a complaint internally within the organization, to a Federal Agency, to a lawyer, or even to ones friends and family involves complicated processes. ... In the Rutgers study …, more than a third (34%) of those who reported unfair treatment in the workplace did not do anything (Dixon et al., 2002, p. 15). Although they also may complain to friends, family members, or people in the office;" 4% "quit;" and 2% "confronted the person." Only 3% said they "sued" the company or their co- worker" (p. 19).
Determining Need for Commission• We felt because of socio-cultural issues revolving around race and other forms of discrimination, the numbers of complaints filed to the EEOC just scratches surface of the real number of complaints that might be addressed if there were a more accessible form of complaint enforcement locally;• if the Commission ordinance written properly people in Charlottesville could use the Commission as their first source of recourse.• The culture of racism and the fear of retribution and losing one’s job with no accessible institution for recourse has psychological and sociological effects on discrimination complaint demand.• Raw numbers of complaints filed in the last two years does not accurately reflect the real need for the Commission.• along with the testimony of local organizations in town like the NAACP, VO, Legal Aid, and QCC who handle these forms of complaints informally, that they cannot handle the demand and recommend the formation of a Human Rights Commission to do so, clearly establishes the demand and justification for the Commission
What’s Next?• Policy Action Team Submitted proposal for Commission to City Managers and City Councilors in December• City Manager conducting “due diligence” on proposal and expects to make recommendation to Council soon•