Commission's Quaterly Newsletter
2003 Winter Edition
From the Commissioner
The New York
City Human Rights Law is one of the most rigorous civil rights
laws in the nation. Mayor Bloomberg and I are committed to the
vigorous enforcement of that law. That same commitment also extends
to fostering racial and ethnic harmony among our diverse communities.
As a former
career prosecutor and a child raised in the South during the civil
rights era, I know firsthand the deleterious effect of discrimination.
Discrimination has no place in this City. When Mayor Bloomberg appointed
me to head the Commission, I was eager to serve and to make an impact.
Upon arriving at CCHR, one of my primary goals was to reduce the
large inventory of cases while making sure that the complainants
received a just resolution. I am pleased that after an intensive
and thorough examination of these cases, we have broken that backlog
cycle and can now refocus the agency’s resources on systemic
human rights violations and meritorious claims. Today, with thorough
intake reviews and investigations, we are able to reach determinations
The hiring of two retired NYPD officers now also allows us to conduct
testing and undercover investigations – helping us resolve
cases in a more timely fashion. They have conducted tests in all
five boroughs and we have hundreds of locations lined up for testing
in accessibility as well as racial and gender discrimination. And
we intend to conduct random testing of employers.
Another top priority was to greatly enhance existing community programs
under our Neighborhood Human Rights Program.
We conduct numerous outreach programs that offer a variety of services.
Our Equal Access Program provides disability access assistance and
education to senior citizens and the disabled community. We are
conducting the Immigrant Employment Rights Education program, providing
training for immigrant workers, employers and immigrant advocacy
organizations advising them of their rights and responsibilities.
We also conduct a Mortgage and Pre-Purchase Counseling Program to
help reduce predatory lending practices and the discrimination associated
We are currently developing a Community Mediation and Dispute Resolution
program to provide early intervention mediation services. And we
have a Training Institute that provides instruction in the Human
Rights Law to advocacy groups, employers, housing and public accommodation
providers, government agencies and student groups.
Under our HIV Prison Project, we work closely with HIV positive
prisoners, ex-offenders and their families experiencing HIV/AIDS-related
discrimination. The Project also offers: a Spanish-English hotline;
crisis intervention; referrals and short-term counseling.
I am proud to live in a City where the Mayor has the integrity and
compassion to believe that all New Yorkers deserve protection from
discrimination. And I am proud to serve under a man who is committed
to fighting discrimination wherever it may appear. Our commitment
to education, advocacy, and enforcement of the City’s Human
Rights Law will surely strengthen our diverse City.