The functions of the Commission on Human Rights are set forth in Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the Human Rights Law: to foster mutual understanding and respect among all persons in the City of New York and to encourage equality of treatment for, and prevent discrimination against, any group or its members.
The Commissioners, who are appointed by the Mayor to serve in a non-salaried position, assist the Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights in addressing issues of discrimination citywide.
Catherine Albisa, Co-founder and Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a strong background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States and previously directed the Human Rights in the US program at the Center for Economic and Social Rights. She also served as associate director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, and co-directed the International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic at CUNY Law School. She has also served as a board chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Born in Brooklyn, Ms. Albisa graduated from Columbia Law School and the University of Miami.
Since 2010, Guillermo Chacón has served as President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, where he is a vocal advocate of the Latinx/Hispanic and HIV&AIDS communities. Under his leadership, the Commission has invested in community mobilization programs, which encourage community-based organizations to develop agendas on the top health policy issues affecting the health of Latinos in New York City. Chacón was appointed by Mayor de Blasio to the HIV/AIDS Services Administration and the Committee on City Healthcare Services. Governor Cuomo appointed Chacón to the New York State AIDS Advisory Council and nominated him for the New York State Minority Health Council, where he was later confirmed by the New York State Senate. He also serves on various Boards, including the New York Immigration Coalition, the New York City AIDS Memorial, advisor for the Alianza Americas, and co-chairs the Latino Jewish Coalition in New York.
Rockwell (“Rocky”) Chin is a retired government civil rights attorney and longtime Lower East Side resident. He previously served as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the New York State Division of Human Rights and in a variety of positions at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. He spearheaded language, immigrant rights and disability rights initiatives in New York as an advocate and as an attorney. Rocky is a founder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), former Civil Rights Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, past Board Member of MFY Legal Services, Leadership for Asian Pacifics, the Asian American Arts Alliance, Yale Alumni Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (2016-2017) and AARP New York's Executive Council (2016-2021).
Rt. Rev. Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Bishop of QKingdom Ministries, Inc. Qkingdom is an interfaith Community Based Organization comprised of the New York Ecumenical Convocation, the Mystical Temple of the Rose and Flame, the Inter-cultural Awareness Council, the Education in Advancement Program/QK Scholarship Foundation, Woman of Great Esteem (WGE) Award, M.A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. School of Science & Technology, where students are educated, inspired and advanced, QK International Student Exchange Program and the Interfaith Academy.
Bishop Gonzales’ outstanding achievements include her nomination as one of the 500 Greatest Geniuses of the 21st Century; she has also been recognized as an inaugural member of the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England as one of the Top 100 Educators 2006; 2006 ONI Award recipient; 2007 Carib News Business Conference Marcus Garvey Award; Caribbean Food Delights’ Community Service Award; The Spirit of New York Award; the World Lifetime Achievement Award; Millennium Hall of Fame inductee; Who’s Who in International Leadership and International Distinguished Leaders; Proclamation from the Government of Bermuda. She is a member of the International Black Women’s Congress and the Progressive Democratic Political Association.
Gurdev Singh Kang is the former president of the largest Sikh temple in New York City, The Sikh Cultural Society Inc. Kang served as president from 2012 to 2016, and has been affiliated with the Sikh Cultural Society for over 25 years. As president, he started the Nagar Kirtan program and sports initiatives for youth. Kang is a member of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council and a clergy member of 1 Police Plaza. He emigrated from Punjab, India, in 1981 and started a deli/grocery business. By 1986, Kang encountered great success in his business endeavors ranging from real estate to retail. Kang has been a member of Community Board 2 in Staten Island since 2006.
Rabbi Bob Kaplan is the founding Executive Director of The Center for a Shared Society of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The Center seeks to honor the dignity of others is order to harness diversity as a value. We engage diverse leaders from across New York City’s government, business, faith and not-for-profit sectors to assist diverse communities to thrive, prosper creating a better quality of life for all in a consistently changing New York. The Center focuses on leadership in diversity, cultural humility, conflict prevention, coalition building and community building. Under Bob’s 30-year stewardship the Center has created leadership initiatives such as YouthBridge-NY, We Are All New York and the Haitian Leadership Fellowships annually training more than 100 diverse leaders in problem solving and community building. The Center has likewise incubated coalitions and initiatives such as The New York Jewish Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform, Interfaith United, We Are All Brooklyn, Project CARE in Crown Heights, the Queens Coalition on Immigrant Aging and the Center for Bronx Non- Profits at Hostos Community College. He likewise serves as a Clergy Liaison to the NYPD.
Mr. Kaplan serves as a Commissioner for the NYC Commission on Human Rights. He currently serves on the boards of the Family Health Centers at NYU- Langone, The Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, Let’s Get Immunized NY and The 67th Precinct Clergy Council.
Mr. Kaplan is called upon by the non-profit and government sectors and as an expert and consultant in the arena of diversity, community building, leadership development, coalitions, and intergroup relations. In February 2009, 2011 and again in 2019, Bob Kaplan, along with Mohammed Razvi, trained Jewish and Arab mediators and community leaders in the skills of coalition building , cultural competency and dignity work, in mixed cities in Israel on the behalf of the U.S. State Department. He also served as a consultant for the United Kingdom Foreign Office working with groups in London and Bristol on Muslim /Jewish Relations. Bob Kaplan was a grief counselor for the American Red Cross at the respite center located at Ground Zero.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City. She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis when the synagogue was in desperate need of pastoral care and spiritual leadership. She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change, while addressing social issues of the day and building a strong and deeply spiritual community. Under her leadership as Senior Rabbi, CBST has become a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and a significant force challenging the radical right’s dominance over religious and political life in the United States and around the world. Rabbi Kleinbaum has long been involved in the fight for human rights for all people. For many years Rabbi Kleinbaum has been ranked by Newsweek among the 50 most influential rabbis in America. Rabbi Kleinbaum was appointed by President Biden to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Rabbi Kleinbaum serves on the Welcome Council of Welcome.US on which former US Presidents and their First Ladies, Obama, Bush and Clinton serve as Honorary Co-chairs. Rabbi Kleinbaum is also a Commissioner on New York City's Commission on Human Rights, serves on Mayor de Blasio's Faith Based Advisory Council and serves on the boards of the New York Jewish Agenda, and the New Israel Fund.
Sharon Kleinbaum’s longtime leadership of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah and her outspoken activism have made her a powerful voice for GLBTQ rights and human rights in America and around the world.
Regina Martinez-Estela is Chief Operating Officer for Independence Care System, a Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care program serving people with disabilities and older adults in New York City. She has more than 25 years of health care experience, ranging from direct service to the promotion of public policy initiatives that expand access to services for underserved populations. Ms. Martinez-Estela manages all health plan operations at ICS, including leading the implementation of the organization’s New York State/Federal healthcare coordination demonstration program for people with Medicaid and Medicare, the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage (FIDA) plan.
Previously Ms. Martinez-Estela was Director of Legislation and Health Policy for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), where she was an effective advocate for preserving the health benefits of veterans with spinal cord injuries, protecting the civil rights of people with physical disabilities, and expanding access to affordable, barrier-free housing. Ms. Martinez-Estela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Fordham University and a MPA from Baruch College-School of Public Affairs.
Faiza Patel co-directs the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program. She is a nationally recognized expert on government surveillance, and especially its targeting of minority communities, domestic terrorism, and the impact of technology on civil rights and civil liberties. Patel has testified before the Senate and House homeland security committees in favor of limits on government surveillance programs.
Patel’s writing has been featured in major publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, and she writes regularly for the legal blog Just Security, where she is a member of the Board of Editors. Patel is also a frequent commentator on national security and counterterrorism issues for print, television, and radio outlets.
She has authored and co-authored several reports including: Social Media Monitoring (2019), Countering Violent Extremism in the Trump Era (2018), Extreme Vetting and the Muslim Ban (2017), Countering Violent Extremism (2017), Overseas Surveillance in an Interconnected World (2016), What Went Wrong with the FISA Court (2015), A Proposal for an NYPD Inspector General (2012), and Rethinking Radicalization (2011).
Born and raised in Pakistan, Patel is a graduate of Harvard College and the NYU School of Law. Previously, she worked as a senior policy officer at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague and served as a law clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Reverend Terry Troia is President and CEO of Project Hospitality, an interfaith effort providing emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing & services to hungry and homeless New Yorkers, where she has worked for the last 35 years. She is also the minister of the Reformed Church of Huguenot Park in Staten Island. The Reverend is actively involved in racial, economic and social justice work related to health, housing and educational equity, LGBT inclusion, immigrants’ rights and the right to shelter. Troia serves by appointment to the Governor’s Clergy Council, the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council, the NYC HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council, the NYPD Training Advisory Committee, the NYPD SI Borough Command Immigrant Task Force, The Richmond County District Attorney Hate Crimes Task Force, the NYC Council Gun Violence Task Force, the New York State Interfaith Immigration Network, and the NYC Supportive Housing Task Force. She serves on the board of directors of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, Homeless Services United, El Centro del Inmigrante, New World Prep Charter School, and Coordinated Behavioral Health. Locally she serves as President of The Staten Island Long Term Recovery Organization and is chair of the Staten Island Tackling Youth Substance Abuse Initiative and serves on the executive committees of the Staten Island Immigrants Council, Communities United for Respect and Trust, Staten Islanders Against Anti-Semitism, the Staten Island Inter-Religious Leadership, Staten Island Council of Churches, Staten Island Family Health Care Coalition, New Brighton Coalition of Concerned Citizens and the Port Richmond Civic Association.