As one long process ends, another begins
by Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (November 27, 2018) – The Lansing Human Relations Commission held its first meeting Tuesday night at the Lansing Police Department. The meeting included the reading of the commission’s mission and goals, planning the commission’s regular meeting schedule, and receiving a training session from a representative of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).
The meeting marks the end of a long process of preparation and planning and the beginning of a new process of collaboration and relationship-building.
In August of 2017, a community meeting was held to address police and community relations in Lansing. This meeting took place in response to an incident involving a white off-duty police officer and a black teenager that occurred in June 2017. Forming a Human Relations Commission was one of many actions recommended at the meeting, and it was an action that Mayor Eidam promised to address immediately, in keeping with the platform she had campaigned on prior to taking office.
On Tuesday, the Commission met for the first time, in front of a crowd of about 20 Lansing officials and interested parties, primarily to receive training concerning intercultural communication.
The commission’s chairman, Leo Valencia, called the meeting to order and after some opening remarks, read the mission statement and goals of the commission.
The mission of the Lansing Human Relations Commission is to promote inclusion to the village administration on community-related issues. The Commission is responsible for designing and recommending innovative programs to enhance community involvement among all Lansing entities in order to increase cultural competency and improve intergroup relations.
The commission shall:
1. strive to unite all community entities and build a mutual understanding and respect for diverse cultures
2. strive to be a catalyst in developing civic pride among all Lansing residents and foster personal equity
3. strive to communicate through channels and methods that advance accessibility and solicit involvement from all Lansing entities.
After Chairman Valencia’s statements, IDHR representative Kori Clemons gave a training presentation entitled “Intercultural Communication: Overcoming Cultural Barriers.” The training focused on the basics of understanding cultures and subcultures, effective communication, and the dangers of ethnocentrism.
Clemons ended her presentation by saying, “I commend all of you guys for coming together to do this. …Today you are taking this step to move your village into a better place and I’m very proud to be a part of this.”
Following the presentation, the commission scheduled their meetings to take place on the third Thursday of every month. The meetings will start at 6:30pm and will be held in the Community Room of the Lansing Public Library. They are open to the public.
The first meeting will take place on December 20.
The Lansing Journal will be covering the activities of the Commission and will post the agenda for its meetings in advance.
- Affirming Diversity (October 2018 article about the nine people appointed to the Human Relations Commission)
- Reaching an Understanding (October 2018 article about the Memorandum Of Understanding signed by members of the community and the administration)
- Lansing residents, police, government discuss solutions (August 2017 article about the Community Meeting following the incident)