Introducing the 2021 Human Relations Commission
In January 2021, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) appointed new members to the Human Relations Commission (HRC), which was established by the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance passed by the BOS on November 28, 2018 (read “Newtown Township BOS 2018 Accomplishments”).
The Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, a copy of which you can download here, safeguards the right of citizens to obtain and hold employment and public accommodation and to secure housing accommodation and commercial property "without regard to actual or perceived race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, age, mental or physical disability, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids, and to have equal access to postsecondary educational institutions."
The Commission will handle complaints through a fact-finding conference with the parties of the dispute in order to reach a resolution without the need to hire lawyers or go to court.
Voting Members of the Commission
Kevin Antoine, JD: The inaugural Chief Diversity Equity Inclusion Officer at Bucks County Community College, Kevin is the Chair of Newtown Township’s Human Relations Commission. He has more than 16 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, non-discrimination and civil rights compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
Angelic Acevedo: A physician by training and originally from Puerto Rico, Angelic is a member of the Newtown Elementary Diversity Committee and has volunteered with her church in Plainsboro, NJ and other non-profits. She also leads the Princeton Pike chapter of the Organization for Latino Achievement, an employee resource group that her employer, BMS, sponsors. As part of this group, Angelic facilitates employee development activities for Hispanic minorities as well as liaises with other resource groups to champion events that help reinforce an environment of inclusion.
Nicole Adams: “Since I came across an article that referenced race relations in Newtown and specifically named the Commission as a change agent in this work in the community, I was immediately intrigued and interested,” said Nicole in her application. Nicole brings a diverse background to the organization. She has the unique experience of growing up in a very diverse community and comes from a multi-racial and interfaith family (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Black and White).
Ivan Winegar: Ivan is a retired resident living in Newtown since 1990. “In my retirement, I have been active with the African American Museum of Bucks County (on the Education Committee), a member of the Interfaith Community of Lower Bucks (working on providing opportunities for racial and ethnic groups to get to know each other better), a member of the Peace Center of Langhorne (participating in many of their activities)," said Ivan in his application.
Aamir Nayeem: “Being the son of Muslim immigrant parents, I'm unfortunately aware of the discrimination that ethnic and religious groups face regularly,” said Aamir in his application. “Although I haven't personally faced much harassment or discrimination living and going to school in Newtown, I'd like to be a part of the solution and make sure that others don't have to deal with it either.” While a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Aamir was a member of the Muslim Students Association's executive board, which hosted events and discussions helping educate others about Islam and helping students deal with the rise of Islamophobia.
Non-Voting Members of the Commission
Non-voting members of the Commission are ex officio members whose background and expertise broaden the diversity that serves on the Commission.
Kara McCarthy: Kara is a 2005 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Sociology. She also has a Master's in Social Services from Bryn Mawr College. She worked for a year as a social worker in two Catholic schools in West Philadelphia. “My goal is to continue to be a participating member of this community and to continue to join in the conversations that the Human Relations Commission has started on handling racism in Newtown," said Kara in his application.
Samantha Gross Dorf: Currently working as the Executive Assistant to the Provost of the Bucks County Community College, Samantha is co-chair of the Race, Ethnicity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Group to the President and lead of the student food insecurity group. These two additional roles at the college allow Samantha to serve the coliege in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion.
John R. Gyllenhammer: John is Deputy General Counsel and Chief Counsel for Health Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia. During his 25 years in legal positions at Drexel University and George Mason University, John has had extensive involvement with anti-discrimination laws and regulations applicable to employees, students, patients and members of the general public.
Thank you Kevin, Angelic, Nicole, Ivan, Aamir, Kara, John, and Samantha for volunteering to serve on this important Commission!
At the February 17, 2021, Newtown Human Relations Commission Zoom meeting, Karen Downer, President of the Bucks County NAACP, spoke about her organization's approach to working with local police departments in Bucks County. For a summary of her presentation, read "Celebrating LOVE is LOVE and Diversity in Newtown."
Posted on 29 Mar 2021, 01:41 - Category: Discrimination
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