‘Why I’m applying for the Human Relations Commission’

Five applicants share their thoughts

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (April 4, 2018) – For the first time in 21 years, Lansing is forming a new Commission—and it’s a Commission with a particularly difficult assignment. The Human Relations Commission will be tasked with helping Lansing develop a culture that embraces diversity, promotes inclusion, inspires involvement, and develops civic pride among all Lansing residents.

It takes a special kind of person to serve on a Commission like this, says Village Communications Director Ken Reynolds. He is impressed with the quality and variety of applications that have already come in. Several of those applicants were willing to share some thoughts about their decision to apply for such a unique role in the Village of Lansing.

Dolphin Harris

Dolphin Harris

“I have asked myself, ‘Why don’t more people involve themselves in our community?’ The answer seems to be they feel they do not belong, so they wonder what is the point. That is precisely why the Human Relations Commission is needed. Changes you feel are needed will not happen without your presence and voice. We’re not going to change things overnight, but we can leave a good footprint.”
 

 

Jeff White

Jeff White

“When I heard about this Commission, I thought, ‘This is a good thing.’ It provides another layer of voices who might be able to share vision—and concerns—that the Village Board might not see or hear about, just because of the different circles we travel in. The strength of our village, the strength of our community, is in the relationships of the people. The Human Relations Commission is about strengthening those relationships.”
 

 

Marilyn Freeman

Marilyn Freeman

“What really convinced me to apply for the Human Relations Commission was when I attended the Citizens Police Academy—being able to be in that class with a whole group of people I didn’t know were my neighbors, and getting to know the officers, getting to know people personally. You know, we were all different types of people, but we all had the same concerns. We became a community in that group. As a Commissioner, I will be asking people, ‘What can we do together to make Lansing better?’ Even if I go through the application process and don’t get chosen, I will still be active. I will still be making a difference. I will be a supporter of the Commission—and the community—no matter what.”
 

Leo Valencia

Leo Valencia

“This is something we need to do because we are a diverse community. This Commission is just another tool in our tool box that every diverse community should have. Forming a group that is going to work to educate our community and help in situations where there might be tensions—that’s a good idea. I’m always up for helping, for being involved. But if I don’t get chosen for the Human Relations Commission, that means there are other folks out there who were the best candidates—and that’s ok too.”
 

Valerie McDaniels

Valerie McDaniels

“Human relationships—that’s what this Commission is about, whether it’s students and teachers, police and community, neighbor to neighbor. The Human Relations Commission can make this a place where people believe that Lansing is their home, and help build the future for our young adults. We have to reinvest into our community. We can’t give up. Diversity comes in all walks of life and various knowledge and experiences. This Commission has to be a diverse team of folks who really want to work together, not one-sided. There may be some disagreements, but we must be in one accord for the good of Lansing.”

Adding more voices

The names and faces above might not ultimately be selected for the Human Relations Commission—the draft ordinance that is under consideration proposes that the Commission be limited to only nine members. But these residents were willing to encourage other people to apply, even if doing so means they ultimately aren’t chosen. These applicants all want the best people on the Commission, and the right combination of people, even if it doesn’t include themselves.

The Village is specifically seeking applicants who are ready to commit to a multiple-year term of service for the long-range good of Lansing. The Human Relations Commission page on the Village website summarizes the purpose of the Commission, explains the application process, and includes a link to the application.

A downloadable, printable PDF of the application can be directly accessed here:

For people who prefer completing the application online, that option is also available:

Reynolds is even considering other ways to gather information from interested community members who may be more comfortable with a verbal presentation than a written application. Contact him directly with questions about that:

 

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1 thought on “‘Why I’m applying for the Human Relations Commission’

  1. I think the human rights commission is a necessary ingredient for real change. How well it is to be integrated into community efforts will be what we all look forward to.

    There is a current display in the history museum at the library honoring Lansings fallen Police officers. The memorial is put together caringly and completely and is something we all need to see and contemplate.

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