Saturday, March 10, 2018

La Crosse Human Rights Commission Members Resign

A few weeks ago, 4 members of the La Crosse Human Rights Commission resigned. Check out the La Crosse Tribune article here. The HRC, together with local advocates and social workers, had uncovered and investigated extensive class and racial discrimination surrounding housing in La Crosse, and were pushing for the city to take action to push back against it. The city wants the HRC more focused on education and awareness, but commission members are dedicated to action and stepped down.

Their statement of resignation follows.

"Good evening! The Human Rights Commission was reorganized in 2015 by Mayor Tim Kabat. That is when several of us were asked to join the Commission. Over the last year the Human Rights Commission has: Felt a lack of trust in the system, A lack of communication with the Mayor and his staff, We desired to advocate and assist our fellow community members, We’ve seen an increase in the number of Discrimination Reports filed, We’ve been constantly told that we cannot act on social justice/diversity situations, The expectations from the Mayor of the commission has became different from what we signed up to do, Seen changes made to the Commission without any communication or chance for input, Felt a lack of commitment and action to diversity and anti-discrimination, and That the Commission lacks the ability to effect policy and governance changes. If the mayor is wanting a group to provide education and events that should be done by staff from the city. If your Human Resource department isn’t capable or you do not have diverse enough staff to do this work that is a reflection on the mayor and the city of La Crosse. You need to diversify your hiring and your training. The Commission would like to thank Genean, Patricia, and all of the other brave individuals that used the processes to speak up and shine light on the issues and our community. We apologize that we were not able to take action. I Shaundel Spivey, I Will Van Roosenbeek, I Elizabeth Digby-Britten, I Rose Reinert Have decided to resign from the Human Rights Commission. We hope that city of La Crosse will continue to examine itself and the discriminatory practices and actions of the individuals corporations and other entities that contribute to this great community. We hope that the city will examine the charge of the Human Rights Commission and either give it the teeth that it needs to do the job or change the job altogether."

If you are moved or upset about any of this, please contact the Mayor's office and voice your concerns and feelings.

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