LIVONIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION
The Livonia Human Relations Commission held its scheduled meetings for 2018 on February 13, May 8, September 11, and November 14, in the Robert and Janet Bennett Civic Center Library meeting rooms. In addition, a non-meeting where attendance is required, was held January 15, at Madonna University in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. day.
The 2018 current Commissioners are:
Elaine Livingway, Harold Klee, Cheryl Kasparek, Kevin Aoun, Richard Glover. Caroline Grech, Secretary, Sandy Teeter, Chairperson and newly appointed Andrew Hess.
The Human Relations Commission was formed in 1966 as a direct response to a racial incident in a neighboring community. In 1980 the Commission created a subcommittee on Women and in 1988 added “handicappers” to its list of concerns. In other words, the HRC is continually evolving to meet the needs of the Community.
On January 15, the Commission attended the “annual” Martin Luther King, Jr. program hosted by Madonna University. The HRC has been a co-sponsor for years with the University and continually looks for new ways to reach our youth with his message of peace. This year we held an essay contest for Madonna students in regard to MLK. The winner, Caitlyn Feasel, received a $500 scholarship and read her essay at the event. On February 7, several Commission members met with Mayor Wright at City Hall where the winner received her check.
The Commission continued to be proactive in the community by attending the State of the City address by Mayor Wright in March and the Livonia Community Prayer Breakfast in May.
The HRC was one of several groups partnering with Madonna University to bring “The Sultan and the Saint” to the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. The film was shown on Sunday, March 25, and was well attended.
On March 29, the Commission attended “A Conversation with Human Trafficking Survivors in Michigan”, in the auditorium of the Robert & Janet Bennett Civic Center Library.
In July, 500 copies of “We Are All Special”, a coloring/activity book for children, were purchased for the Livonia Backpack Program and the Goodfellows Holiday Party.
On July 22, Detroit’s Former 36th District Court Chief Judge, Marylin E. Atkins, shared her life’s story about race, religion, abuse, and success. The HRC co-sponsored this event “The Triumph of Rosemary” with the Civic Center Library.
On October 4, the HRC accepted several awards for Harriet DeGarmo Fuller, a Livonia teacher who was a founding member in 1852 of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society. She was inducted into the 1835 Livonia Hall of Fame.
October 25 marked another educational presentation on Human Trafficking in which the HRC was co-host. Two survivors and a Wayne County Prosecutor, along with Laura Toy, did an incredible job bringing a different perspective on this heinous crime. This event took place in the City Hall Auditorium.
November 2nd was the deadline for High School students to turn in their essays. Each of the four High Schools in Livonia will be participating and each will have one winner who receives a $200 gift card. The purpose of this contest is to get the students to think about important issues. Winners will be announced at the November 14th Commission meeting with a pizza party afterwards.
The HRC continues to change to meet the needs of our society. We’re already in planning mode for 2019. Stay tuned.