Human Relations Commission greets new commissioners and says goodbye to departing member

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Cam Sanchez and Valerie McDaniels attend their first meeting; Regina Titsworth announces departure

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (September 19, 2020) – Two new faces were present during the Lansing Human Relations Commission meeting Thursday night—those of Cam Sanchez and Valerie McDaniels. Both new members were appointed by Mayor Patty Eidam and approved by the Village Board at its Sept. 1 meeting.

The positions on the Human Relations Commission (HRC) had been vacated by Jamica Quillin and Rich Schaeffer, whose resignations were announced at the Aug. 8 Village Board meeting. At that meeting, Mayor Eidam cited Quillin’s reason for resigning as a move out of Illinois. Quillin’s resignation was made at the end of 2019. No reason was given as to why a replacement was not made sooner. Eidam also attributed Schaeffer’s resignation to a move out of state. Schaeffer has moved to Dyer, IN.

In addition, Leo Valencia, who had served as Chair of the HRC since being selected by Mayor Eidam in the summer of 2018, relinquished his HRC position after Mayor Eidam selected him to fill the Village Trustee seat vacated with the sudden passing of Trustee Mike Manno in June.

Valerie McDaniels introduces herself at the Common Ground launch meeting on August 20, 2020. (Screenshot from Lansing Journal livestream)

New commissioners introduced

At Thursday’s HRC meeting, acting Chair David Iwaszko welcomed both Sanchez and McDaniels and invited them to introduce themselves.

McDaniels has lived in Lansing since 1989, and is retired from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). She is married and has kids and grandkids. She serves in the community and spoke with Mayor Eidam in the past about highlighting Child Abuse Prevention Month in April of this year, but when COVID-19 hit, those conversations were forced to stop. She hopes to make child abuse awareness and prevention an issue of greater priority.

Cam Sanchez attended the July 16 meeting of the Human Relations Commission. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Cam Sanchez has lived in Lansing his whole life and is a senior at TF South High School. He helped organize a peaceful protest in June in response to George Floyd’s death, and in late August, he organized a food drive to help those in need.

Both Sanchez and McDaniels are participants in the HRC’s pilot race relations program Common Ground.

“You guys both bring a lot to the table,” acting Chair Iwaszko said, “and I think having some fresh eyes, fresh input, for this board is good.”

Acting Chairman

David Iwaszko

Iwaszko was made the acting Chair of the HRC at the start of Thursday’s HRC meeting. The announcement was made by the Village’s legal representative Erin Blake.

Commissioner declines to continue

Near the end of Thursday’s HRC meeting, commissioner Regina Titsworth announced that she had declined to continue serving on the HRC.

“Tomorrow makes two years of our term. And so I was called today and asked if I wanted to continue on, and I declined,” Titsworth said. “I just want to say it’s been a great two-year ride, and today is my official last day.”

Regina Titsworth

Titsworth said that her busy schedule was the primary factor in her decision. She also said she wanted to allow someone else the opportunity to serve on the Commission.

When the HRC was started in late 2018, commissioners were given either a two-, three-, or four-year term to serve. The terms were staggered so that there wouldn’t be a complete turnover of the board every four years. New commissioners moving forward will be given four-year terms. The mayor is responsible for appointments to the HRC.

The Lansing Human Relations Commission meets every third Thursday of the month. Due to COVID-19, the HRC has been meeting at the Courthouse within the Lansing Police Department, 2710 170th Street. This will remain in effect throughout Stage 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.

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About the Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission is an advisory body, not a decision-making body. They meet to discuss Lansing’s diverse citizenship and ideas for ensuring that all kinds of people feel welcome in community, business, and government. Their recommendations go to the Village Board of Trustees, who decide what actions to take.