OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Nine residents have been approved by Oklahoma City Council to become members of the City’s new Human Rights Commission.

The nine residents include:

  • Valerie Couch, At-Large Member/Chair
  • Ralph Crawford, Ward 1
  • Cindy Nguyen, Ward 2
  • Councilwoman Barbara Young, Ward 3
  • Leslie Shaw VanBurskirk, Ward 4
  • Brian Wall, Ward 5
  • Ana “Deisy” Escalera, Ward 6
  • Marsha Herron, Ward 7
  • Rhonda Hooper, Ward 8

The City Manager will appoint a Compliance Officer for the Commission to report to the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer. The Compliance Officer and the Commission will have a legal counsel staffed by an attorney from the Municipal Counselor’s Office.

“We look forward to supporting the Commission by providing residents with conciliation services and ensuring everyone is treated with respect and dignity,” said Oklahoma City’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Shalynne Jackson. “I’m also excited about the educational opportunities the group will offer the public, promoting equity and strengthening our cultural competence as a community.”

The Commission’s goal is to address alleged harm to those who have been discriminated against due to race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, age, familial status, genetic information, or disability related to employment, housing and public accommodations from Oklahoma laws regarding Discrimination.

Some of the Commission’s responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating with the community, including public and private agencies, to promote human rights.
  • Working with law enforcement agencies by referring violations or apparent violations of anti-discrimination laws to them.
  • Recommending studies or surveys that promote anti-discrimination policies.
  • Producing an annual report of the Commission’s activities.
  • Establishing advisory committees to help the Commission.
  • Participating in at least one educational event annually that promotes human rights.

The Human Rights Commission’s first meeting it set for January 2023.