Adrian city commissioners consider disbanding Human Relations Commission

The City Commission is expected to decide whether or not to disband the HRC on Aug. 7.
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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ADRIAN, Mich. (WTVG) - The Human Relations Commission in Adrian has been active since the 1970s but that may no longer be the case in a few weeks.

Discussions over updating the city’s Human Rights Commission turned existential as some city commissioners suggested getting rid of the organization altogether.

“We were all moving together in one direction,” Robert Behnke, a member of the Human Relations Commission said. “And, now, they just want to do away with it.”

Members of the HRC say the changes would have better defined the commission’s role and the responsibilities of its members. They also would have added LGBTQ+ people to the organization’s list of protected classes.

“One of the things that the city commission is trying to do with the HRC is to develop something that they can see us actually performing and doing for the city,” Andre’a Benard, the Human Relations Commission Chair said.

The City Administrator, Greg Elliot, says the shift comes after HRC member Behnke organized a “protest of sorts” during which supporters spoke for the LGBTQ+ addition at a city commission work session.

“It is my impression that the action underscored an existing concern about the dysfunction of the HRC in its current form,” Elliot said. “One of our commissioners suggested that it might be better to do away with the current ordinance language and address the mission that the HRC was supposed to address in a different way.”

Some who live in Adrian say the HRC in an invaluable resource.

“The HRC is a beacon of hope for underserved folks who have no one else to go and no one else to turn to,” Rudy Flores, who lives in Adrian said. “Our citizens in our community have the right to have advocacy on their behalf.”

The city commission is expected to decide whether or not to disband the HRC on Aug. 7.

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