As a former member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Equity Advisory Committee, I can honestly say the commission should be disbanded for this simple reason: This commission was created in 1964 as a tool of justice to fight discrimination against Blacks. Today it is nothing more than a political tool for the mayor.
Any reasonable person would not object to the Human Rights Commission expanding to fight all discrimination in the city. However, for way too this commission has forgotten its stated mission:
- Advocate for human and civil rights.
- Investigate and mediate discrimination complaints.
- Resolve community disputes and issues involving individual or systemic illegal discrimination.
- Provide technical assistance, information and referrals to individuals, community groups, businesses and government agencies related to human rights and social services.”
Let’s look at the SF Human Rights Commission’s last four years of service:
1. A long time staff member was allowed to retire form the HRC while being investigated on child pornography charges. (2010)
2. A current member of the HRC lacked integrity in his marriage forcing him to move across the country as a result. (Mayor Ed Lee appointment 2011)
3. A former gay HRC commissioner was promoted to the Police Commission before he settled a domestic violence issue while at the HRC. (SF Board of Supervisors appointment 2011)
4. The Human Rights Commission’s Executive Director Theresa Sparks discriminated against a Black staffer; costing The City $210,000.00. (2012-13)
5. According to the SF Chronicle’s Matier/Ross, a mayoral campaign debt retirement party for Mayor Ed Lee after his election was hosted by a member of the city Human Rights Commission. This now former commissioner was appointed by Ed Lee to the commission. (2012-2014)
Walk onto the 8th floor office of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission located at 25 Van Ness Ave. and you will notice to the left, two chairs separated by a table that holds various human rights related reading material. One such item is our own monthly San Francisco BayView Newspaper.
The July 2014 issue contains the sad story of Daryle Washington, who gave up his job with Recology Corp. of San Francisco. This father of five could no longer endure the work stress after reporting a White co-worker, who hung a noose on the job some seven months earlier.
The fact that Mr. Washington could get no help resolving the matter with his employer that has a contract with The City led him to seek remedy from litigation. The SF HRC, which has jurisdiction over this kind of harassment but judging the way the SF HRC handled other incidents of a noose, Mr. Washington would only be wasting energy if he was to file a report with this city agency.
March 4, 2014, I sat in the 8th floor conference area of the HRC for a pre-scheduled meeting with commissioners, Susan Christian, Sheryl Davis and the commission’s “Equity Advisory Committee” facilitator Zoe Polk to discuss matters of Black oppression. As we were waiting for the meeting to begin,, HRC Director Teresa Sparks a White transgender was discussing with Commissioner Susan Christian a Black lesbian and current chair of the commission, how best to cut a check of support—I think I heard the sum of $1,500.00 but I honestly do not remember the amount— for a teenaged transgender. A Contra Costa County high school-er accused boys from her school of sexual assault. I could tell they were unaware of the latest news on this story. The transgender teen made up the whole story. Therefore I broke the news to them, which caused them to drop the matter.
What are the chances that the director of the HRC Ms. Sparks and HRC Commissioner Christian would read the story of Mr. Washington, a father of five, who did not make up a story of harassment and come together to cut him a check of support in his time of need?
If a Black man living in San Francisco cannot call on the SF Human Rights Commission to resolved a race based harassment dispute with his employer, why does this commission receive $6 million from the city to fight discrimination?
San Francisco Blacks do not need affirmative action, they need ACTION period. Action against the lack of leadership from Mayor Ed Lee on this out of control commission. The voters should have the opportunity to stop financing what in my opinion has turned into nothing more then a club, aka the San Francisco Gay Cause Commission.