Human Relations Commission

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Duties of the Commission

It shall be the duty of the Human Relations Commission to:

  • Seek solutions in the area of human relations, whether actual or potential.
  • Promote equal opportunity for all citizens without regard to age, sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation.
  • Promote understanding, respect and goodwill among all citizens.
  • Provide channels of communication between the various racial, religious, ethnic and socioeconomic groups within the city.
  • Provide channels of communication between all citizens of the city and city government.

Functions of the Commission

In order to carry out these duties the Human Relations Commission seeks to:

  • Foster better human relations within the City of Wilson.
  • Provide open channels of communication between:
    • City government and minority groups
    • Between minority groups and the various civic, social and religious groups (in the City of Wilson) and
    • To foster better interagency relations between the various agencies in the City of Wilson.
  • Provide a public forum to hear concerns involving racial tension; to bring together the parties involved to discuss the facts and to assist in the resolution of such complaints.
  • Promote equitable and proportionate representation of all racial and ethnic groups on public boards and agencies in the City of Wilson.
  • Conduct educational programs, institutes and forums that address cross-cultural issues.
  • The 12-member commission is appointed by City Council. The volunteers who serve are appointed for terms of three years. The Commission meets monthly on the third Tuesday at 6:00 PM in the Human Relations office, First Floor in City Hall Annex.

Members of the Commission

  • Octavius Anderson
  • Peggy Carr
  • Barbara Conklin
  • Kennedy Gray
  • Brittany Hamm
  • Jacqueline Knight
  • Tijuana Locus
  • Gillettia Morgan
  • Timothy Rogers
  • Marvin Sharpe
  • Vacant
  • Vacant

Events

  • Sponsors the annual 1st Fridays on the Lawn community concert series designed to bring diverse citizens together for fun and fellowship. Each concerts has a Community Initiative that helps citizens learn more about Wilson. These free concerts are held the first Friday of July, August, September and October on the Wilson County Library lawn.
  • Facilitated the annual joint meeting of the Human Relations Commission and the Wilson Committee for Persons with Disabilities. Officers and members of the two boards subcommittees are elected.
  • Helps organize the Annual Human Relations Banquet held each year during Human Relations Month in February at the Darden Alumni Center . Nearly over 200 persons attend the event. The Commission honors businesses, organizations and individuals that have contributed significantly to improving human relations in the City of Wilson.
  • Assists the Wilson Youth Council in planning their community service projects throughout the year and attends state youth conferences with the council delegates.
  • Involved in the efforts to help the City of Wilson acquire All America City recognition.
  • Member of the Task Force that secured Harris Sussman, Ph.D. to facilitate Human Diversity initiative for City of Wilson employees.
  • Facilitated a review of the 1997 One Wilson recommendations.

History

The Wilson Human Relations Commission was created out of the Wilson Good Neighbor Council in 1969. It was the Council’s intense interest to seek more effective methods to solve some of Wilson’s racial problems.

The Council realized that its efforts to combat the problem were hampered for several reasons: they (the council) were only an advisory group to the mayor; there were too many built-in limitations – all of its members were volunteers; a great amount of research was needed to compile and analyze factual data before any planning could be done toward setting up short-range goals and long range goals; the number of daily decisions and complaints needing immediate handling and solving was increasing. These and other reasons led the Council to solicit support for their ideas.

William E. Fenner, Chairman of the Good Neighbor Council, with the full support of the Chamber of Commerce and concerned citizens – both black and white – spearheaded the concentrated efforts made by the Council. Reasons, facts and working examples substantiating the need for an interracial Commission that would be an official part of the city government and have a full-time director working constantly to solve the community’s race-relations problems were aired to numerous civic groups.

As a result of this action, on June 12, 1969, a group of concerned citizens, along with the Good Neighbor Council, recommended to City Council that they consider the advisability of establishing a Human Relations Commission with a paid, full-time director. City Council accepted the recommendation and authorized the mayor to appoint a study committee to investigate this new proposal and report its findings to City Council.

The mayor appointed Dr. G.K. Butterfield, Sr., E.M. Barnes, Rev. W.R. Bussey, Jim Ellis and J.D. Ellis to serve on the study committee. After several meetings, they unanimously agreed that the City of Wilson could profit greatly by having a Human Relations Commission.

City Council acted swiftly on the recommendation and voted for the establishment of a Human Relations Commission for the City of Wilson . On September 11, 1969, City Council adopted Ordinance 0-17-69, making the Commission an official department of city government.

Clark Mills, Sr. served as the first director of the Human Relations Office for many years. He was succeeded by W. Oliver Melvin in 1994. From March 1996 through December 1998, Theatrice “Theo” McClammy served as director. The Rev. Maurice Barnes was hired in April 1999 and served until June 2004. From February 2005 to July 2007 Veronica Creech led the Human Relations Office. Since January 2008, the Human Relations Office has been under the direction of Renee Smith.