Human Rights Commissioners
Rev. Carol Rinehart, Chair
Sara Weinberger, Vice-Chair
L'Tanya Robinson, Secretary/Clerk
How to Reach Us
Human Rights Commission
Office of Mayor David Narkewicz
210 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
New Members Needed
Please fill out the City's application form at the link and return to the mayor's office. In addition to attending meetings, membership may involve networking with other groups, helping to plan an event, writing a letter to the editor, or working with a committee to resolve a complaint.
Meetings are open to the public. Members of the Human Rights Commission meet at 7-9 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held in the Hearing Room on the 2nd Floor of City Hall, 210 Main Street. Use City Hall's rear entrance.
We appreciate if you let us know you will be attending a meeting so we can ensure room on the agenda.
Those who wish to submit complaints should do so using the complaint form below under "Documents" or by contacting the mayor's office.
Who We Are and What We Do
The Northampton Human Rights Commission was established in 1998 by the City Council to advocate for the civil rights of all residents and visitors of the City. We respond to complaints made by persons in the city who feel that their human or civil rights under the law have been violated in Northampton. We make referrals to appropriate agencies, such as the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination, when necessary. The Northampton Human Rights Commission also works to raise awareness about human rights issues in the community through educational programming.
"It is the policy of the City of Northampton to uphold the human rights of all persons in Northampton and the free exercise and enjoyment of any and all rights and privileges secured by the Constitutions and Laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Northampton. ...Towards that end, the Human Rights Commission will function as a facilitator of alternative dispute resolution rather than as an adjudicatory function.... [The Commission may] receive complaints of discrimination in the city in which the complained of actions may deny or tend to deny equal access or opportunity in matters of housing, employment, education, contracts, purchasing or public accommodations, the basis of: race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, or disability, marital status, veteran status, receipt of public housing assistance, or because they have children."
--Human Rights Commission ordinance
Commissioners are community volunteers appointed by the mayor with confirmation by the Northampton City Council. Anyone residing in Northampton may apply. The Commission can have as many as 9 members.
How We Can Help You
If you believe you have been the subject of discrimination in Northampton, we encourage you to contact us. Our help can take many forms, including referral to other appropriate agencies or dispute resolution. To submit an official complaint, use the complaint form available below or contact us for a form.
The Northampton Human Rights Commission also serves as a resource for human and civil rights issues. Through educational activities and collaborative efforts with other groups, we work to inform citizens of their human and civil rights, eliminate discrimination in the city and make Northampton an even better place to live, work and visit.
You may contact us by phone, email, or by attending a meeting.
Human Rights Commission Documents
Co-sponsor 9/21/11 panel discussion for veterans
Sponsored by Northampton’s City Council and Social Services & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, Human Rights Commission, Soldier On, and the Veterans Education Project
The Things They Carried and They Still Carry
Panel discussion about coping with war’s emotional aftermath, with veterans of Vietnam and Iraq or Afghanistan, and a military family member. Panel moderated by Steve Connor, Northampton Veterans Services Officer.
On the Same Page
On the Same Page Committee has chosen Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried as the next book for the community to read together this coming fall. A 1990 best seller, today it is considered the benchmark for literature dealing with the Vietnam War.
OSP Committee is partnering with the Veteran’s Education Project based in Amherst, the Forbes Library in Northampton and the Lilly Library in Florence, Northampton’s Office of Veteran Services, and Northampton’s Human Right’s Commission to organize and implement the event. Official co-sponsors include the Northampton City Council, Soldier On (a veterans’ shelter based in Leeds), and other community organizations.
- Human Rights Day
- Gazette column: UN human rights credo valid today Sara Weinberger explains the timeliness of the United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Bring the War Dollars Home City Council asked Human Rights Commission to review this proposed Council resolution (05/2010)
- Gazette op-ed: Bring War Dollars Home Our reasons for support of the proposed City Council resolution are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the commission adopted last year as its guidepost for decisions. (8/24/10)
- Arizona Immigration Bill Human Rights Commission was asked to co-sponsor this petition to City Council by American Friends Service Committee (06/2010)
- Recursos Comunitarios para Inmigrantes: En español, haga clic aquí
- Human Rights Day Co-sponsorship of Call to Action in solidarity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (12/09/09)
- Sojourner Truth Speech Chair Heather Johnson delivered speech at Sojourner Truth Day celebration (5/27/07)
- Inter-Faith Service co-sponsorship of an Inter-Faith Service of Justice and Reconciliation, part of Daley & Halligan Bicentennial Commemoration (6/5/06)
- Letter to the Editor Letter to the editor after hate crimes on Massasoit Street (5/6/06)
- Gender Identity Endorsement of adding gender identity and expression to the city's human rights ordinance, which became law in Northampton on 12/16/05
- Same-Sex Marriage Support at the city clerk's office on the first day of legalized same-sex marriages (05/2004)
- Domestic Violence-Free Zone Support of the city's work to become and maintain itself as a Domestic Violence-Free Zone (2003-ongoing)