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In a time seemingly notable for its divisiveness, it’s good to know that some people are serving quietly (mostly quietly) in the background to advise our leaders and community members regarding problems that need to be solved and how we might solve them. Bringing our diverse perspectives together is the challenge.

People who serve as volunteers on boards, commissions, and committees throughout Humboldt County and its cities, take on often thankless tasks of addressing issues, recommending possible solutions, and then moving on to the next issue. This is often done without praise or recognition, but such is the nature of volunteerism.

The Humboldt County Human Rights Commission has served in this capacity since it was authorized in 1965, at the height of the civil rights era. Its mission is “to promote respectful, compassionate relations among all persons, and to advocate for peace, health, safety and the general welfare.” We are a county-appointed entity and thus are subject to the policies of the Brown Act of California. Some of our more recent activities are highlighted on our Facebook page: Humboldt County Human Rights Commission.

Our commission could use additional members and greater diversity and you may be just the person we are looking for. There are current openings: District 2 with Supervisor Estelle Fennell and District 3 with Supervisor Mike Wilson.

These positions require monthly meetings, are strictly volunteer, may do some committee work, and are nonpartisan in nature. We usually respond to current issues as they arise or as we feel are in keeping with our purpose. Currently we are overseeing grants to groups addressing human trafficking. We are also concerned with the criminalization of homelessness, hate speech and bullying, and implementation of the county’s new sanctuary ordinance. Also, of serious concern, is the issue of systemic racism in a county where many might have thought it doesn’t exist. It does.

A great deal more information is available on the Human Rights Commission page of the county website humboldtgov.org. On that same page you will find an application that may be returned to the appropriate supervisor.

If it seems this is the time in your life to make a difference, to inspire an existing commission, and to improve the lives of people in your community, please consider serving on the Human Rights Commission. If you simply have a question, please call our message line (not for emergencies) at 707-268-2548 and leave a message. Someone will respond within a day.

So here it is: a chance to make a difference! We hope you will seize the opportunity and be the change your community is searching for.

Jim Glover is chairman of the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission.

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