Commission's Quarterly Newsletter
2003 Spring Edition
From the Commissioner
Bloomberg appointed me as the Commissioner/Chair of CCHR in February
2002, our first priority was to reduce the 5,000 case backlog
that was immobilizing the Commission. We worked hard to thoroughly
review each case and make the determinations that complainants
had waited so long for.
With the backlog now eliminated and the Commission operating effectively,
we have been able to focus more resources on identifying systemic
patterns of discrimination. Our Law Enforcement Bureau conducts
testing everyday throughout the City, with a focus on discrimination
in housing. We currently have around 800 cases under investigation
and continue to take in new complaints everyday.
We have also been able to concentrate on the service programs our
Community Relations Bureau provides. Our Immigrant Employment Rights
Program reaches out to the City's diverse communities to inform
them of the protections they have under City and Federal law. We
plan to expand the program to additional communities.
Staff members working in our Equal Access Program vigorously advocate
on behalf of people with disabilities and the elderly. We have successfully
negotiated over twenty accommodations during the last three months,
including: a ramp and lift for a blind amputee in a Brooklyn apartment
building; relocation of a disabled woman to a first floor apartment;
the installation of a low window for wheelchair users in a Manhattan
check-cashing business; and negotiating a pricing policy for disability
seating at a chain of Broadway theaters.
NY 1 alerted us to a case that was especially moving. An elderly
man who uses a wheelchair had been confined to his apartment for
several months. The ramp outside his building was stolen and the
management refused to replace it. We worked with the Mayor’s
Office for People with Disabilities to obtain the necessary funds
and within two months of the complaint, a new ramp was installed.
The Commission has also brought back its Training Institute to educate
more individuals on the City's rigorous Human Rights Law. Additionally,
we are meeting with interested principals about their school's participation
in the Commission's Peer Mediation Program.
I invite you to browse our website, which now includes the full
text of the Human Rights Law, and the Center for NY Law's website,
www.citylaw.org, which contains all of our trial decisions since