Human Rights Commission
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a perfect opportunity to remember the power that each community member has to make change right here in Eugene. The Eugene Human Rights Commission presents an annual award to local change makers in an effort to acknowledge the time and talents they give to our community.
This year, the Commission recognizes two people for their contributions in the area of human rights and race relations in our community. It is with great excitement that we honor Sarah Ross and Leah Dunbar with the “Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leader Award” for 2016.
Sarah Ross was a leading force in the creation of the first Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in 1983, before the day was declared a holiday in 1986. She and a small team of community leaders continued to host this family friendly event for over 30 years as a way to honor and educate people in Eugene about Dr. King’s legacy. Ross also founded Honoring Our New Ethnic Youth (H.O.N.E.Y. Inc.) a local organizations to support multiracial children and their families and to create a racially harmonious environment.
Leah Dunbar is a Eugene area teacher who has dedicated her career to serving children and advocating for educational equity. She developed and teaches a curriculum called Courageous Conversations to high school students to share stories that expose and challenge inequality, nurture the development of critical consciousness and create space for transformative narratives.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the celebration. Participants are asked to gather at the North Gate at Autzen Stadium beginning at 9 a.m. for free coffee and remarks from UO campus representatives, Mayor Kitty Piercy and the NAACP Eugene-Springfield Branch.
View previous award winners here. View the poster here.
Meeting and Commission Information
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month. All meetings are open to the public. The Commission focuses on its City Council-approved work plan, community matters, and working within City government. The Commission undertakes a two-year work plan, currently focused on four goals:
1) Building Commission capacity
2) Enhancing the Commission relationship and role within the City government
3) Responding to human rights concerns and trends
4) Working toward a human rights framework in Eugene
Members create working groups, designate liaisons, craft resolutions and statements, follow response protocols, and facilitate collaboration and partnerships to achieve specific, targeted outcomes. At each full business meeting (held every other month), the Commission and Committees provide a public forum, where issues can be announced or concerns brought forward from the community for broader attention or possible organized response. Finally, the Commission participates in, endorses and financially sponsors community events that are aligned with its mission.
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