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Human Rights Commission Meeting Minutes - February 16, 2023

The Regular Meeting of the Human Rights Commission of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the Commission Chambers at City Hall at 12:00 p.m., Thursday, February 16, 2023.

The Human Rights Commissioners present or absent were as follows:

Present: Matuor Alier, Carolyn Becraft, Sarah Boonstoppel, Nancy Boyle, Jacqueline Dotzenrod, Barry Nelson, Cheryl Schaefle, Cody Severson, Sekou Sirleaf.

Absent: Hamida Dakane.

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

Item 2. Approve Order of Agenda
Member Nelson moved the Order of Agenda be approved adding an extra item to discuss the forming of a Committee or Taskforce. Second by Member ?. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 3. Approve Order of Minutes
Member Boyle moved the minutes of the January 19, 2023 Human Rights Commission meeting be approved as presented. Second by Member Schaefle. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 4. Presentation from Project RAI - Rainbows are Inclusive
Kristin Nelson, Co-Founder and Project Manager for Project Rainbows are Inclusive (RAI), said she was inspired to create a program that would educate teachers and adults on how to support children to be their most authentic selves. Project RAI recognizes the need to support children who are gender queer and educate adults, she said.

Item 5. Presentation from TRANSport Organization
Rynn Wilgohs discussed a highlight of the current North Dakota Legislative bills being heard. Ms. Wilgohs stated that transgender is not a mental illness and is classified as a sexual development disorder. She stated that gender identity is not protected anywhere in the United States against discrimination, except specific states like Minnesota and California. She said she has asked for the City and the HRC to make a statement of support for gender identity.

Item 6. Update on the HRC Website, ADA and Discrimination Forms
Catlyn Christie said the Planning Department and Facilities Management will coordinate with the DEI Department to create a point of contact for all discrimination/complaint/ADA forms. Ms. Christie said they are currently working on updating the HRC website. Ms.

Majerus said historically there have been 16 forms completed online between 2019 and 2022.

Item 7. Presentation on the Harassment Ordinances - City and State
Assistance City Attorney Ian McLean explained the differences in the City Ordinance on Harassment and the State’s Ordinance on Harassment.

Item 8. Committee Updates
No Committee updates were provided.

Item 9. Legislative Update
Member Nelson provided an overview of what has happened so far in the Legislature. He brought forth a Resolution on behalf of the City of Fargo’s Human Rights Commission, to submit testimony in opposition to the numerous bills targeting members of the Transgender community.

Chair Severson recommended to send the Resolution draft to the Communications Department to review and approve, as well.

Member Nelson asked for a motion to approve the Resolution and messaging of the Resolution.

Member Becraft moved the Resolution be approved.. Second by Member Boyle. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

City Commissioner Liaison John Strand said the Resolution should be immediately forwarded to City Administrator Michael Redlinger who will have the chance to provide further updates to the City Commissioners.

Item 10. Staff Updates
Chair Severson acknowledged the absence of Member Dakane who is currently serving at the Legislature. He said the Human Rights Commission is proud of the work she is doing at the Legislature and will welcome her back once the Legislative session is over. He said they are looking into expanding the Human Rights Commission Executive Committee with a third member of the Board..

Item 11. Announcements
Member Nelson provided an overview of House Bill 1537. He said he would encourage everyone to consider supporting the Bill and to reach out to their Representatives.

Item 12. Public Comment
Reverend Karen Van Fossan spoke about Shane Netterville and the role the Human Rights Commission should take in that regard.

Christopher Coen spoke about Shane Netterville and the sending of a letter from the Human Rights Commission to the Department of Justice.

Item 13. Adjourn
The time at adjournment was 1:07 p.m.