FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 6, 2017
ATHENS FOR EVERYONE AND ATHENS ANTI-DISCRIMINATION MOVEMENT CONTINUE TO INSIST UPON AN ATHENS CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE
Athens for Everyone and the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement are calling on the ACC government to fulfill its obligation of protecting the civil and human rights of all its residents by immediately creating an Athens Civil Rights Committee.
Since early 2016, AADM and A4E have been advocating for the establishment of an Athens Civil Rights Committee. Such a committee would be comprised of a diverse body of residents whose purpose would be to: assist people in navigating the process of filing a discrimination/harassment complaint; research and evaluate current problems and possible solutions; make official recommendations to the Athens-Clarke County government on how to effectively address discrimination; and advocate, educate, and promote mutual respect and understanding in Athens.
On November 1, 2016, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor & Commission passed an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance with a directive for the county attorney and staff to study variations of human relations committees, including versions that would require little to no involvement of the ACC government in hearing, and acting upon, its recommendations.
In light of the ACC’s decision to further delay action, AADM has established an in-house civil rights program and council designed to provide educational resources, support, and legal referrals to citizens who allegedly have been discriminated against or treated unfairly at home, in the workplace, at school, at public establishments, or within the legal system.
This civil rights program is currently the only structure in place to fight discrimination in Athens by giving voice to those who experience it. Ultimately resolving the problem of discrimination in Athens is not, however, the responsibility of an independent, non-governmental body; it is the role of the county government. In light of increasing instances of discrimination in Athens, it is all the more urgent that the ACC government act and act now. Hundreds of cities have already implemented such committees and with great success. That the ACC government has chosen to simply loosely commit to investigating the viability of such a body flies in the face of research and experience that such government-based committees can both successfully reduce the incidence of discrimination and create a culture of inclusivity with far-reaching consequences.by