Human Relations Commission

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Human Relations Commission - September 17, 2020 Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Board of Human Relations Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the Commission Chambers at City Hall at 12:00 p.m., Thursday, September 17, 2020.

The Human Relations Commissioners present or absent were as follows:

Present: Abdiwali Sharif-Abdinasir, Cheryl Schaefle, Matuor Alier, Laetitia Hellerud, Barry Nelson, Cody Severson, Ahmed Shiil, Carolyn Becraft

Absent: Hamida Dakane

Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
Chair Alier welcomed Members to the meeting and introductions were made.

Item 2. Approve Order of Agenda
Member Nelson moved the Order of Agenda be approved as presented. Second by Member Schaefle. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 3. Approve Order of Minutes
Member Nelson moved the minutes of the August 20, 2020 Human Relations Commission meeting be approved as presented. Second by Member Schaefle. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Member Hellerud present.

Item 4. Public Comment
Faith Dixon addressed the Board and spoke on hate crimes. She stated she would like to see the State amend the Century Code laws relating to hate crimes to list specific crimes, have mandatory training for all law enforcement, and mandatory data compiling.

Member Sharif-Abdinasir present.

Discussion was held regarding if hate crimes in the community have been reported, and if advocates were offered to assist.

Member Nelson stated that data, information, and anecdotal stories are so important. He encouraged people to reach out to the Human Relations Commission so the Board can help gather the information.

Ms. Dixon stated that Black Lives Matter will be reaching out to other groups in the community to start gathering testimonies on hate crimes.

Planning and Development Director Nicole Crutchfield noted the Human Relations Commission has had a Presentation from the Fargo Police Department on hate crimes and the reporting process. She stated this would be an opportunity for a subcommittee, the Planning staff, community members, and the Police to discuss further.

City Commissioner John Strand stated this is a worthy topic, and suggested bringing it back to a future agenda for an update.

Item 5. Presentation: Community Workforce Inclusion Council – New Americans Report
Chet Bodin, Minnesota Department and Employment and Economic Development, and Member Hellerud presented a background and update on the recent work of the Community Workforce Inclusion Council.

Ms. Hellerud noted that the second phase of the study focused on transportation, childcare, language/education, and housing barriers.

Mr. Bodin provided an overview of the New American project goals that were developed from the study. He noted that progress has been made in the business sector, and includes a new Inclusive Workforce Employer Designation (I-WED) Program.

Discussion was held on next steps and a timeline for the goals; criteria for the I-WED Program; areas the community can collaborate on regarding the barriers listed in the report; and non-traditional workforce training models and work hours.

Hakun Dabar proposed questions on the report relating to New American’s in the workforce. He questioned which employers were being met with; the process of asking questions; and if income levels of New American households was being considered.

Ms. Hellerud noted that all contributors to the study are listed in the report. She stated that income levels were not looked at for this report.

Mr. Bodin stated one of the goals of the I-WED is to build a bridge between employers and employees to help New Americans succeed.

Victoria Johnson questioned if there is evidence based on the research and if it was included in the report. She asked how the work being done will help parents of children and those with special needs. She would like to see the data and evidence.

Ms. Hellerud stated a challenge for the report was to not have any baseline data, and a goal for the report was to gather data. She shared there were listening sessions and surveys to establish a multi-approach to build the data. She noted that the goal is to integrate New Americans as part of the society in the larger community, and the goals are high level to be able to keep adding to in the process.

Ms. Hellerud noted the needs of children and those with specials needs will be looked at by the education group.

Ms. Dixon shared there are non-traditional childcare providers in the community.
Ms. Hellerud stated the report does recognize there are some non-traditional childcare providers, but that there are not enough and this is an area where the community can grow. She encouraged reading of the report.

Item 6. Discussion: January 2021 MLK Day Planning
Assistant Planner Karin Flom provided a brief update on the event, and proposed the Human Relations Commission take a look at the event and how it could be different this year.

Ms. Crutchfield noted that an in-person event in January is unlikely, however we could still celebrate and build community in other ways. She noted there are many opportunities in the community, and for the Board to look at how they can be most effective and work towards the work plan goals.

Discussion began regarding if past conversations were ever held about collaborating with other entities, maximizing efforts, and what collaboration could look like.

Chair Alier stated those that want to volunteer on planning should reach out to staff.

Ms. Crutchfield noted that the awards are a large part of the celebration and part of the event she would like to see continued.

Member Nelson cautioned the Board from walking away from the event, as it is a signature event in the community and wants to continue the conversation to work on it.

Item 7. Increase Number of Board Members
Chair Alier stated the Executive Committee is recommending the number of appointed Members on the Board be expanded from nine to eleven. He shared this would be a way to increase the diversity on the Board.

Member Nelson stated that Fargo is a growing community and this would help make sure the diversity of the community is represented.

Ms. Crutchfield clarified the process of an ordinance amendment.

Member Schaefle moved to direct staff to begin the ordinance amendment process to increase the number of appointed members from nine to eleven. Second by Member Sharif-Abdinasir. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 8. Liaisons to the Human Relations Commission
Chair Alier introduced this item to begin conversation on defining and expanding liaison representatives to the Board. He noted seeking volunteers from the Board to work with himself as Chair, and Vice-Chair Severson to identify agencies or organizations as potential new liaisons.

Members Schaefle and Becraft volunteered.

Member Nelson moved to expand the number of liaison members and direct Human Relations Commission volunteers to draft proposed amended bylaws. Second by Member Hellerud. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 9. Discussion: Meeting Structure and Frequency
Chair Alier stated with the adoption of the Human Relations Commission work plan, the Executive Committee and staff are seeking feedback on the format and frequency of business meetings.

Ms. Crutchfield noted that staff is seeking how the Board can be most effective in their work.

Commissioner Strand stated the Human Relations Commission has a lot of work to do.

Item 10. Staff Update
Ms. Flom shared an update on the 2020 Census and stated the last day to respond is September 30.

Ms. Flom noted the Planning Department has been issued Federal funding, and a Request for Proposals (RFP) Notice of Funding Availability has been sent out and applications are due October 9.

Ms. Crutchfield reminded the Board that we remain in an Emergency Declaration, and the importance of using the Board’s time most effectively between business meetings and work in the community.

Item 11. Announcements
New Members Becraft and Shiil provided a brief introduction about themselves.

Member Nelson stated that a survey regarding the removal and renaming of the Woodrow Wilson High School is available on the Fargo School Board website, and the deadline for response is October 1.

Member Nelson shared that the 3rd Annual LGBTQ+ Summit is coming up and will be held virtually, October 2-4. He noted registration closes September 25.

Item 12. Adjourn
The time at adjournment was 1:13 p.m.