Community Relations Commission
In the spring of 1953, Mayor Paul G. Goebel and the Grand Rapids City Commission appointed a Human Relations Study Committee to study the need for and outline a possible program for a permanent Human Relations Commission. Later that year, the Study Committee submitted a report with specific recommendations regarding the need for a Human Relations Commission.
In April of 1955, the City Commission established a fifteen-member Human Relations Commission. Its many responsibilities included fostering mutual understanding and respect among all racial, religious and nationality groups in the City of Grand Rapids, and discouraging and preventing discriminatory practices among any such groups or any of its members.
In 1968, the Community Relations Commission (CRC) was created, and the Human Relations Commission was eliminated. The duties and responsibilities of the Community Relations Commission are outlined in the Grand Rapids City Code, at Title I, Chapter 8, Article 3 (PDF).
Responsibilities of the Community Relations Commission have greatly expanded since its establishment. The Commission serves as an advisory, operational and quasi-judicial body. It has a variety of duties relating to civil rights. Included are: investigation of complaints of discrimination and related concerns (which it can perform itself or delegate to staff), research and recommendations on discrimination and remedies for it, and educational and programmatic initiatives and activities. The CRC is also the body to whom the City Commission has delegated the quasi-judicial duty of conducting hearings and making decisions on issues involving compliance with a number of City policies, including the Affirmative Action Employment of Minorities and Women under City Contracts, the Equal Business Opportunity policies (600-15 and 600-12), the Investment Policy (400-01) and the Tax Abatement Policy (900-09).
See a list of activities in which the CRC has participated.
Picture Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
To function in an autonomous capacity to the City Commission and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion by actively supporting, promoting, reviewing and monitoring equal opportunity, affirmative action and non-discriminatory activities, thereby insuring the fair and equitable treatment and availability of services to all Grand Rapids citizens, which enables them to be valued for their supreme worth.
The Community Relations Commission was established to eliminate prejudice and discrimination; to keep all citizens informed of developments in the community; to give expert advice and assistance to elected officials in adopting measures to keep peace, good order and harmony among citizens; to avoid inter-group tensions, promote good will; and ensure equality of treatment and opportunities to all, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, handicap, lawful source of income or gender orientation.
- Investigate complaints;
- Conduct public hearings;
- Discourage and prevent discriminatory practices;
- Conduct research;
- Provide community education;
- Release and issue reports and public service announcements;
- Cooperate with federal, state and local governments and agencies.