Human Relations Commission - December 21, 2017 Minutes
Regular Meeting: Thursday, December 21, 2017
A regular meeting of the Board of Human Relations Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held at the City Commission Room at City Hall at 12:00 o’clock p.m., Thursday, December 21, 2017.
The Human Relations Commissioners present or absent were as follows:
Present: Rachel Hoffman, Timothy Stone, Barry Nelson, Laetitia Hellerud, Paul Jensen, Cheryl Schaefle, Dave Lanpher, and Hassan Lamba
Absent: Abdiwali Sharif-Abdinasir, Tanya RedRoad
Also Present: Willard Yellow Bird, John Strand (Fargo City Commissioner), Kara Gloe (City of Fargo), Brianna Cassady, Faye Seidler, and Rebel Marie
Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
Chair Hoffman welcomed Members to the meeting and introductions were made.
Item 2. Approval of Agenda and Minutes
Mr. Nelson moved the agenda and minutes for the November 16, 2017 Human Relations Commission meeting be approved. Second by Mr. Lanpher. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 3. Brianna Cassady, Faye Seidler, & Rebel Marie – Transgender Discrimination, Rights, and Cultural Competency
Ms. Cassady recounted her experience of discrimination at a salon in south Fargo, where she was asked to use the men’s locker room.
Ms. Seidler shared statistics of transgender discrimination, noting many transgender people do not know where they can turn to for support or to report discrimination.
Ms. Hoffman asked if incidents of discrimination are increasing. Ms. Seidler said there is no way to know, because no one is tracking it. Ms. Seidler stated she does not believe these incidents are always intentional, but thinks it is more a lack of education and awareness. Ms. Cassady stated many transgender people do not report discrimination because they are afraid of losing their jobs.
Mr. Jensen said he believes it is very courageous of Ms. Cassady to stand up and speak out. He added that he believes it needs to be part of the Human Relations Commission’s work in the next year to continue educating the community about LGBTQ+ issues.
Mr. Nelson asked Ms. Seidler and Ms. Cassady for recommendations on what the Human Relations Commission should be working on. Ms. Seidler recommended the City of Fargo use her Transgender Cultural Competency services and Transgender Resource Guide. Ms. Seidler also recommended the Human Relations Commission advocate for transgender folks, despite the lack of State protections.
Mr. Strand said he believes this is a historic moment to have two transgender advocates at the table. He further encouraged the Human Relations Commission to make every effort to fight for transgender rights.
Ms. Seidler stated she is an activist but identifies primarily as an educator, and as an educator, she does not expect perfection. She teaches that it is o.k. to make mistakes, but the important part is how people respond to their mistakes.
Mr. Nelson stated the North Dakota United Against Hate would also be a resource to partner with the trans community.
Ms. Hoffman thanked Ms. Seidler and Ms. Cassady for coming and asked how people can access the resources Ms. Seidler mentioned. Ms. Seidler stated that anyone could reach out to her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Gloe stated the Human Relations Commission is a place where folks can report discrimination and pointed out that folks do not necessarily have to come to a public meeting in order to report. She added the Human Relations Commission can refer people to other resources, and track such incidents.
Item 4. Public Comment
No public comments were made.
Item 5. Budget Requests
Ms. Gloe introduced a funding request for $500 from the Immigrant Development Center for a Main Avenue Cultural Mural Project.
Mr. Nelson moved to approve the remaining Human Relations Commission budget balance of $442. Second by Ms. Schaefle.
Mr. Jensen stated it would be beneficial to see a proof of the artwork ahead of time, to ensure the artwork will not be a public eyesore.
Mr. Lamba noted he believes the Immigrant Development Center has been vital to the immigrant community. He believes the mural is a small token that is going to help the Immigrant Development Center continue to do that.
Ms. Hellerud added she knows the artist’s work and says the quality is there. She also stated that art is very subjective.
Mr. Nelson pointed out that, in the future, the Human Relations Commission could access the Public Art Master Plan.
Mr. Stone stated he believes it will only add value to the Main Avenue area.
All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 6. 2018 Budget Proposal
Ms. Hoffman introduced the proposed 2018 Human Relations Commission budget. She pointed out that, as part of the proposed budget, the 2018 sponsorship applications are being suspended to ensure funding for Inclusion Planning.
Mr. Stone asked if there will be notice that the Human Relations Commission will be suspending the sponsorship applications for 2018. Ms. Gloe stated language could be put on the website and in a press release.
Mr. Nelson requested the Human Relations Commission compile a list of resources to assist new organizations seeking funds. Ms. Hoffman agreed and pointed out that the ND HRC Arts and Film Festival was new this year, and the Human Relations Commission was able to make a significant impact.
Mr. Stone stated the suspension is only a year, and getting notices out early is really important. Mr. Lanpher added that for some of the organizations starting from zero, any amount of funding can be very important.
Mr. Nelson said he is impressed with how the Arts and Culture Commission is using funds from the City of Fargo as a catalyst for private funds in the community, noting the Human Relations Commission could potentially partner with private companies to expand its budget.
Mr. Nelson inquired if the Executive Committee should review the budget. Mr. Lanpher suggested the Board could pass the budget and adjust it as necessary.
Mr. Lanpher moved to approve the proposed 2018 Human Relations Commission budget. Second by Mr. Stone. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 7. Proposed Bylaws Update
Ms. Hoffman stated the approved bylaws will be the Human Relations Commission’s internal policies. She added Ms. RedRoad has resigned and thanked her for her years of service. In addition, she said the Mayor has agreed to reappoint Ms. Hellerud as a voting member.
Item 8. MLK Committee Update
Ms. Hellerud noted planning is on track for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event, which will be held on Monday, January 15, 2018. She added efforts to expand advertising methods for this event have been made and asked Members to share the event with others.
Item 9. Other Business
Ms. Hoffman announced the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Walk is tonight at 6:45 p.m. from the U.S. Bank Plaza to First Lutheran Church.
Ms. Gloe pointed out that she included the 2018 Human Relations Commission calendar and will continue to update the Members as events are added.
Ms. Hoffman thanked Willard Yellow Bird for his service to the Human Relations Commission.
Item 10. Adjourn
The time at adjournment was 12:59 p.m.