Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Letters

An Important Step

In December of 2020 a group of concerned citizens formed the Clinton Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). Our goal was to propose a human rights commission be established in Clinton. We sought to facilitate mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, economic conditions, or health status. We envisioned it as an educational and advisory body. The proposal received support from residents and people who work in our town, including community leaders, educators, and business people.

Our minority populations are small but significant, and growing. It is critical that we take steps to ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for them. Individuals may feel excluded when their numbers are small. In researching Connecticut communities, we found many other towns have a human rights commission in their charter.

At the June 2 Town Council meeting, two of our CHRI members—Board of Education and Parks & Recreation Commission member Christopher Passante and student organizer with Partners in Community and Morgan School graduate Sarah Auletta—presented our proposal. On July 7, the council responded with its draft proposal for creating a human rights body. Our co-chair Laurie Jaffe spoke on behalf of CHRI addressing concerns we had in the council’s language, and after some discussion by the council, they voted to create the Advisory Committee on Human Rights!

While we believe there is much as a community we have yet to learn about tolerance, our differences, and our subconscious bias, and the impact that may have on individuals here in Clinton, we think this is a moment to be proud and an important step in fostering an even better community. We thank the members of the Town Council for approving this committee.

Tom Shultz, Chairman
Clinton Human Rights Initiative