Rapid City mayor and city council continue the process of improving the Human Relations Commission

The merger of MOA and the Human Relations Commission would provide support as the city moves forward.
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 7:21 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Tonight’s city council meeting will determine the future of a human relations commission that aims to tackle tough conversations and bridge the people of Rapid City with its leaders.

Founded in the ’70s, Rapid City’s Human Relations Commission has worked to ‘safeguard equal opportunities of all citizens by resolving conflict, settling complaints of discrimination, and promoting cooperation in the community’. Although the Commission went dormant for a while, it was given new life around 2010. The Rapid City Mayor and city council have been working to restructure and make the Human Relations Commission better.

“This work will, I believe, follow that grounding where we need to build trust with one another, we need to develop relationships with one another to create change," said Karen Mortimer, Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors Director.

Now, the merger of MOA and the Human Relations Commission would provide support as the city moves forward with creating more equality and peace within the community.

“Our work which has been to BEAM; bridge cultures, advocate, and educate and model respectful behaviors, will go into that work and the work will be able to continue and grow. We want this to support a very inclusive, collaborative, resourceful approach to this work," said Mortimer.

“They provide the structure and the advice that would be necessary to pull off a human relations function in Rapid City, but their role is largely advisory," said Steve Allender, Rapid City mayor.

The city council already approved the budget for a Human Relations Director, so the city can focus on gaining credibility in the community and continuing to support all races and classes of people in Rapid City.

“When you’re paying for your government through your taxes and fees and so on, I think a few pennies of that investment is to make sure that your rights are going to be protected," said Allender. "And I think that you would also like for the rights of your neighbor to be protected.”

Copyright 2020 KEVN. All rights reserved.

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