The ACC Mayor & Commission are expected to vote on the “Bar Admittance Ordinance” and the creation of an Athens Civil Rights Committee at the November 1 Mayor & Commission meeting. At least 6 Commissioners will need to vote in favor of a “Commission Defined Option”, expected to be proposed by Commissioner Kelly Girtz, that will propose the beginning steps of researching and creating an Athens Civil Rights Committee. At this time 4 Commissioners, Girtz, Melissa Link, Jared Bailey, & Jerry Nesmith, have given vocal support. The other 6 Commissioners have yet to solidly support the creation of the ACRC.
On Tuesday, November 1 the community will come together one more time to rally and call for the creation of an Athens Civil Rights Committee. The rally will be held at City Hall from 6:00 to 6:45pm, and we will hear from supporters of the creation of an Athens Civil Rights Committee. The last 10 months of hard work of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will come down to this vote, please be there.
ACC Commissioners currently supporting an Athens Civil Rights Committee:
ACC Commissioners that have not yet voiced support:
View this timeline of the fight for an Athens Civil Rights Committee created by Reann Elizabeth Huber, Martha Michael, and Denver Ellison.
Frequently Asked Questions about an Athens Civil Rights Committee:
- What would an Athens Civil Rights Committee, or Human Relations Commission, do? 1. Provide programming and education to the county on issues related to enhancing positive interaction between diverse members of Athens-Clarke County. 2. To serve as a liaison between the county and other local diversity and minority organizations. 3. To collect data regarding acts of discrimination/harassment within Athens-Clarke County and share the analysis of that data, with recommendations, with the Mayor and Commission. 4. To monitor the actions taken by appropriate governmental bodies regarding acts of discrimination/harassment reported to the County Attorney’s Office and/or the County Commission. 5. To report periodically to the Mayor and Commission on the extent of violations within Athens-Clarke County, the activities of the ACRC, and the overall health of human relations in the County.
- What characteristics are to be protected?
We are basing the protected characteristics on the ACC Anti-Discrimination Resolution, which includes: race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or pregnancy.
- Do other cities have similar Human Relations Commissions?
Yes! Hundreds of cities and counties have created these Commissions, including Columbus, GA; Gwinnett County, GA; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Austin, TX; Isabella County, MI
- I’ve heard this theoretical Athens Civil Rights Committee would have legal authority to go on “witch hunts” and punish businesses, is this true?
No. An ACRC would improve human relations in Athens through Education, Research, Facilitation, and Community Empowerment.