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Village seeking more applicants

Soon-to-be-formed Human Relations Commission needs wider representation

by Ashlee De Wit

LANSING, Ill. (March 2018) – Ten Lansing residents have submitted applications for the Human Relations Commission so far, but Director of Communications Ken Reynolds would like to see many more completed before the interview process begins.

The application was released to the public at a Village Board meeting on February 6 and currently has no deadline. It is available both on the Village website and in hard-copy form at the Lansing Municipal Center, located at 3141 Ridge Road.

Determining the goals

The Commission itself has not yet been officially formed. On February 15, the Village conducted its second of two workshop-style meetings with select Lansing residents, in order to discuss goals and plans for the Human Relations Commission. Village staff will be taking the information gathered in those meetings and using it to draft an ordinance that will define the Commission.

“The workshops were very valuable in giving us material and perspective that we would not have had without them,” Reynolds said.

Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed at the meetings, both the details of the discussion and the names of the meeting’s participants are protected by a confidentiality agreement; Reynolds did not comment on them.

Appointment and approval

The proposed ordinance for the Human Relations Commission will go before the Trustees at a Village Board meeting for discussion—and, eventually, a vote—before the Commission can be officially created. Members of the Human Relations Commission will be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Trustees.

The first round of interviews for Commission members will likely begin before the Commission is approved, Reynolds said, so that the Mayor and Village staff aren’t starting the selection process from scratch after the ordinance is passed.

Process and progress

He notes that the approval process may take some time.

“Given what [the Human Relations Commission] is, and given the amount of time that has gone into it, I think it’s important that the Board—and I know they will—review it thoroughly and ask questions. If we have to make adjustments from there, that’s part of the process,” Reynolds said.


Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.


  1. Back in August of 2017, a group met at T.F. South to discuss the Human Relations Commission and the Lansing Journal wrote about the meeting. I read the article and took note of the concerns listed below followed by the many suggestions how to go about accomplishing items 1-10. Not once in all that was listed was prayer ever mentioned as a way to make a change for the better. Add this to the list of things we can do and watch what happens. The Village communities that seem to get along are doing just that. Try putting prayer at the top of the list. Now I would join the Commission that does this. Programs out of love, not necessity. Now there is a concept worth looking into.

    1. Lack of diversity in Lansing government and police force
    2. Diversity training for police
    3. More community dialogue on race
    4. De-escalation training for police
    5. Limited bilingual staff in government and police force
    6. Lack of communication with the public
    7. Lack of communication with youth
    8. Limited online information in Spanish
    9. Unclear status of Human Relations Commission
    10.Need to improve police complaint process

    The next step involved making recommendations to address these concerns, and residents again stepped to the microphones to offer ideas. At the end of 20 minutes, the list of recommendations included:

    1. Create the Human Relations Commission ASAP
    2. Show support for police
    3. Teach conflict resolution to youth
    4. Develop pride between police and youth
    5. Increase civic engagement in government
    6. Use the Library chat room as a public forum for youth
    7. Find new ways to communicate to our diverse community
    8. Encourage community discussion of race and implicit bias
    9. Arrange book discussions about race
    10. Encourage block parties
    11. Use Social Media to promote public forums as events

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