Pittsfield's Human Rights Commission launches Web page

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PITTSFIELD — The city's Human Rights Commission has launched its own Web page in the hope of informing the public about its role.

The group also wants to provide a site for civil rights-related educational and contact information, as well as a platform for local events and organizations, the chairwoman said.

The page, launched in late April, can be reached via the city's website, cityofpittsfield.org. The link is listed under the Government tab at the top of the city's homepage when visitors scroll down to Boards and Commissions.

Chairwoman Cecilia Rock said the idea of a site was suggested last fall by Commissioner Robert Sykes, who researched how other commissions in the state interact with the public, such as Amherst, which also has a Web presence.

The rights commission was established in the 1990s but had been dormant before being revived in 2014, shortly after the Affirmative Action Policy and Plan and its advisory committee also were revived after a similar period of dormancy and reaffirmed by the mayor and City Council.

A public relations subcommittee, including Mark Miller and Louis Perez, worked with city information technology department director Carol Nichols and information systems coordinator Allie Bottume in developing the page, Rock said, and the commission approved the format at an April meeting.

"We hope to explain more about who we are, what we can do and what we can't do," Rock said.

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Contact information, instruction on filing a discrimination complaint with the commission, and information on the board's role in city government and the ordinance establishing it are posted. There also are links related to the city's Affirmative Action Policy and Plan, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and other sites.

Rock said the commission also is able to receive donations toward educational efforts related to civil rights, and some funding has begun to come in.

And the page has a photo gallery for rights-related events and organizations and information on commission agendas, meeting minutes and annual reports to the city.

"The Human Rights' Web page will serve as a resource for the entire community," said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, in announcing the launch last week. "I urge people to contact the commission with any events, concerns or questions."

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.

On the Web ...

Visit the Human Rights Commission's Web page at cityofpittsfield.org/government/human_rights_commission/index.php or send email to hrc@pittsfieldch.com


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