HRC Members to Attend Circle Training in June

The Revere Human Rights Commission (HRC) held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday evening (May 2) in the City Council Chamber. On hand for the session were chair Chaimaa (Shay) Hossaini and fellow members Dr. Lourenco Garcia, Kourou Pich, Fire Chief Chris Bright, and Somaya Laroussi. Also on hand for the session was Steve Morabito, the city’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), who serves as the HRC’s Executive Director.

After Hossaini started the meeting with the usual 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 May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Appreciation Month, National Day of Prayer, International Firefighter Day, Cinco de Mayo, National Day for the Reconciliation and Remembrance of those who gave their lives in WWII, Mother’s Day, Taiwanese-American Heritage Week,, National Armed Forces Day, International Day of Biological Diversity, The Declaration of Bab (a religious holiday for some Iranians),  the Ascension of Baha’u Llah (a Persian religious holiday), International Workers Day, and Memorial Day.

The members then discussed their outlook and expectations for the Circle Training with Strong Oak Lefebvre that will be held for HRC members on June 13-14.

The Circle program, according to its website, is as follows: “Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition, or VBCIC for short, 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 our name stands for ‘Balance, Equality, and Respect’.”

Hossaini asked her fellow commissioners how the Circle Process can be used to engage with members of the community who may be opposed to the goals of the HRC.

Garcia said one of the tenets of the Circle Process is to teach people “how to overcome tension and conflict. We live in a city where people have pre-conceptions and different views and there is tension in our community. I am looking forward to how we come out of this training with tools to de-escalate and how to engage with people, even with those who don’t like us.”

Pich, who has had experience with the Circle training, added that the process can be used for community-building and relationship-building.

Hossaini then asked, “Should we start applying whatever we’ve learned within our commission to start off, or go straight ahead to the community about issues that are prominent in our city?”.

Laroussi suggested that the commissioners initially should implement the training within the HRC itself and Hossaini agreed, stating that the commission should start within itself before bringing the process to the outside community.

Morabito mentioned the upcoming city-wide observances coming in June, including Gay Pride Month (which will be celebrated on June 3 with a flag-raising at City Hall), Juneteenth (which will be observed with another flag-raising at City Hall on June 18), and a Revere Beach Pride celebration on June 23 at Waterfront Square.

With the Circle training taking the place of the HRC’s June meeting, the commission adjourned until its next public meeting in July.

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