ONAMIA -- Two years of planning for a Mille Lacs Area Human Rights Commission will culminate this month when the state officially recognizes the organization under the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commission.
A chartering ceremony for the organization is scheduled for Aug. 17 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Rolf Olsen Center in Onamia. Speakers scheduled for the event include Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Velma Korbel, Ken Peterson of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, and Ken Hasskamp from Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar's office. A community reception will follow the program.
The Mille Lacs Area Human Rights Commission is a partnership between the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; the cities of Garrison, Isle and Onamia; area law enforcement agencies; the Mille Lacs Band Corporate Commission; the Mille Lacs Health System; tribal Elders; area clergy members; local business representatives; and at-large community members.
Representatives from each group have been working for more than two years to establish the commission. During that time, they have collaborated with Korbel, area state human rights commissions, area residents, and others to create the commission's vision and gather feedback from the community to set its goals and direction.
The commission works to address human rights issues, alleviate tensions created by changing demographics in Minnesota, and build healthy communities where people want to live and work. In the coming months, the group's activities will include hosting forums on human rights issues, seeking ways to engage youth in the commission, sponsoring a youth essay contest in conjunction with National Diversity Day, and developing a "Human Rights Response Plan" to address bias and hate crimes.
The Mille Lacs Area Human Rights Commission stated mission is "to work within the Mille Lacs area communities to promote civil and human rights, eliminate hate, prejudice and discrimination, and to create a community that embraces diversity."
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