Human Relations Commission
"Reducing tensions…Creating Connections…Building Peace”
The Human Relations Commission (City HRC) is a neutral agency mandated to promote equal participation in the civic process through innovative peace building programs and models designed to reduce discrimination, increase cultural competency and improve inter-group relations.
Los Angeles City is one of the most racially, ethnically and religiously diverse cities in the nation and likely the world. The city was named “a laboratory” for pluralism by the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. As of 2000, Los Angeles surpassed New York as the largest gateway city for new immigrants entering the United States, becoming host to some of the largest diaspora communities outside their native countries, with over 270 languages spoken in a city of four million people according to the Languages of Los Angeles Project. While the richness of such diversity defines the people of the city, it is also a source of potential inter-group conflict, lack of trust, and civic engagement. As such the City HRC's core function is intended to reach out to the core of our identities and the humanity that brings out the best in all of us.
The commission works closely with these important populations to build relationships and facilitate understanding between them and city departments. City HRC provides policymakers with recommendations based on robust data and research on issues affecting underserved populations. It also identifies gaps in services and resources to serve these populations and works with agencies and elected officials to ensure the gaps are addressed to meet the needs of underserved groups.
Meet our Commissioners
Welcome to our new Human Relations Commissioner, Irma Beserra-Nuñez!
We invite you to meet our commissioners and explore how they’re working to help our most underserved communities.
- Rosa Russell, President
- Dr. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, First Vice President
- Mark Rothman, Second Vice President
- Daniel Campos, Commissioner
- James Herr, Commissioner
- Courtney Morgan-Greene, Commissioner
- Irene Tovar, Commissioner
- Melany Dela Cruz-Viesca, Commissioner
- Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, Commissioner
- Irma Beserra-Nuñez, Commissioner
- Patricia M. Villasenor, Executive Director
The National League of Cities reports that, “A growing disconnect between citizens and government – complicated by the challenges of financial strains, demographic changes, diminishing social capital, and increasing demands from citizens – has renewed the need for local leaders to revisit issues of democracy and governance.”
* Since its inception, City HRC has provided a bridge for citizens to engage with leaders, thereby minimizing feelings of isolation and apathy. City HRC initiatives include but are not limited to:
LAPD and other governmental agencies often call upon City HRC’s expertise to help identify and mitigate issues to avoid an eruption into more serious problems, oftentimes violence. Strategies include: 1) Building and facilitating police/community relations in city neighborhoods where relationships were strained or completely absent 2) Facilitating training in leadership, human relations, and civic participation for community and government agencies to manage their own issues and work with diverse communities 3) Coordinating task forces and "Captain’s Table" where we connect law enforcement and citizens to discuss the unique needs of communities with a high risk of being the victims of profiling, discrimination, and hate crimes 4) Identifying and recommending policy initiatives which will increase civic engagement and improve community/police relations.
Through inclusive partnerships, City HRC’s Interfaith initiatives encourages civic participation and freedom of religious expression. The Initiative builds capacity for faith groups that are often marginalized, resulting in their ability to better serve and contribute to the larger society. Programs/projects include Annual Iftar Interfaith Dinner, Countering Violent Extremism, and Days of Dialogue.
Youth Ambassador Program
The City HRC Youth Ambassador (YA) Initiative creates opportunities for Los Angeles young people to serve as leaders. Serving as a nexus that ultimately connects youth to local government, the program allows diverse young people to engage in the political process. The eight-month program includes mentorship and leadership development equipping youth with the skills necessary to spark quantifiable change in their communities. The initiative culminates with an all-inclusive trip/tour of Washington, D.C.
In times of conflict, the Human Relations Commission staff is deployed to listen to community concerns, identify communication barriers, and broker partnerships for the benefit of all City stakeholders. Most recently, the Human Relations Commission has been involved in mediating conflict in the shooting of a day laborer in MacArthur Park Mr. Jamines, and the uprising over the Trayvon Martin case. In partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department and others, the Human Relations Commission has saved the millions of dollars in continued civil unrest and the escalation of violence.
"embRACE LA is a novel and comprehensive approach to creating sustainable and meaningful dialogue between City residents and City government. Together we can solve the problem of race for our children and make Los Angeles a model of equity and diversity for the State of California and the nation." -Commissioner Courtney Morgan-Greene
In collaboration with Los Angeles Police Department and Department of Cultural Affairs, the Human Relations Commission introduces the new initiative titled "embRACE LA: Equity·Inclusion·Justice." This is a new pilot program that focuses on promoting conversations and artistic expressions throughout the city of Los Angeles, with regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, diversity, and multiculturalism. The motion was brought forth by Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson (Council District 10) and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell (Council District 13).
The first phase includes getting information and assessing the community on racial equity attitudes through an anonymous survey. The City HRC and partners will go door-to-door to administer longer interview surveys through the community, starting with Council District 9. Once the data has been collected in December and analyzed, the HRC will report its findings to Councilmember O'Farrell's Arts, Parks and LA River Committee. During this assessment, the HRC will also advise on next steps, which include art programs, mural installations, poetry slams (Rise UP↑), and community forums on race equity.
You can complete our anonymous survey by clicking here.
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer with embRACE LA, please contact Francisco Ortega at Francisco.Ortega@lacity.org or (213)808-8458.
embRACE LA website coming soon!
TRANSGENDER ADVISORY COUNCIL
The City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission Transgender Advisory Council (“TAC”) is community-led body that will advise the Mayor, City Council, elected officials, and governmental agencies on issues important to the Transgender community in Los Angeles. The TAC will be a project-based, policy-oriented group that will tackle the issues most pressing to the Transgender community.
MEETING AGENDA & MINUTES
The Human Relations Commission invites you to attend our events and our board meetings. Please join us at our monthly meetings, usually held on the second Wednesday of every month at 12:00 p.m. in Room 1060, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Meeting agendas are generally finalized one week in advance. Find meeting agendas here and meeting minutes here.
GET INVOLVED & LEARN MORE
Join us at our monthly meetings, usually held on the second Wednesday of every month at 12:00 p.m. in Room 1060, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For more information, please contact (213) 808-8533 or HRCinfo@lacity.org. For all Media Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org