Human Rights Commission Looks Ahead to Future Planning

The Revere Human Rights Commission (HRC) held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday evening (April 4) in the City Council Chamber. On hand for the session were chair Chaimaa (Shay) Hossaini, vice-chair Herby Jean-Baptiste, and fellow members Dr. Lourenco Garcia, Molly McGee, Kourou Pich, Fire Chief Chris Bright, Somaya Laroussi, Police Chief Dave Callahan, and Rev. Wellington de Oliveira. Also on hand for the session was former City Councillor Steve Morabito, the city’s new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), who serves as the HRC’s Executive Director.

After Hossaini started the meeting with the Land Acknowledgment, in which the Pawtucket tribe was recognized as the original holder of the land in Revere, the members read aloud the HRC’s Mission Statement:

“The Mission of the Revere Human Rights Commission is to promote human and civil rights and empower all people of Revere by ensuring that everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, have equitable opportunities, equal access, and are treated with dignity, respect, fairness, and justice.”

Hossaini then mentioned the various celebrations and observances in the month of April: National  Volunteer Month, Earth Month, Autism Awareness Month, Arab Heritage Month, Cambodian New Year (April 13-16), Ramadan (which ends on April 10), Autism Awareness Day (April 2), the Day of Reflection for the 1997 Rwandan Genocide (April 7), Sexual Assualt and Rape Awareness Month, and Alcohol Awareness Month.

Vice-chair Baptiste was recognized by Hossaini for his recent award for Black Excellence on the Hill at the State House, for which he earned an ovation from those in attendance.

The members then recapped the Woman’s Day event that was held in the city over the previous weekend. Hossaini lauded those who attended for “coming together with a great turnout for the short amount of time that it had been planned.” Hossaini acknowledged Clerk Paula Sepulveda for her huge effort in putting the event together.

The discussion then turned to the commission’s three subcommittees (also known as the HRC’s working groups) and their current members: Cultural Events and Celebrations (Hossaini and Bright); Education, Research, and Evaluation (Garcia, Pich, and McGee); and Community Outreach and Organization (Pich and McGee).

Laroussi stepped up to join the education group, Rev. de Oliveira joined the outreach group, and Jean-Baptiste said he would like to join the celebrations committee. Pich withdrew from the education committee.

The discussion then turned to the issue of how best to plan events for the year ahead. After Morabito pointed out that without knowing what funding will be available to the HRC for FY 2025, it could be difficult to make any specific plans for events in the new fiscal year, the consensus among the members was that a training and workshop session should be scheduled prior to June 30.

One idea voiced by some members is to have speakers from HRCs in other cities and towns come before the Revere HRC to discuss what they are doing in their communities. The meeting concluded with the HRC generally agreeing that a Circle Group training event, which would encompass two and 1/2 days, would be a good choice for a training session in June.

The HRC previously has held sessions with Strong Oak Lefebvre, the founder of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition, which provides prevention education, training, and technical assistance to all indigenous and multicultural communities in the Northeast and nationally who wish to eliminate interpersonal violence in their tribal, intertribal, or other types of communities. The acronym B.E.A.R. in the name stands for “Balance, Equality, and Respect.”

In addition, Morabito mentioned that the city will be conducting a Racial Equity training event in May to which all of the HRC members are invited.

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