The Normal Human Relations Commission advises the Council on human relations issues, enforces civil rights based on municipal codes, and is a co-sponsor, along with Bloomington, of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Program. The Normal Human Resources Department serves as staff for this Commission, handling and resolving discrimination complaints, coordinating the award program, and providing support for community outreach. In 2008, the Commission received three formal and 55 informal complaints of unlawful discrimination and conducted five successful conciliation meetings. Community outreach involved booths at Juneteenth and the Culture Festival, sponsoring youth to attend the Diversity Project, sponsoring the YWCA Youth Peace Camp, and participating in various local events.
There were 681 tickets sold for the 2008 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon (670 people attended). There were 700 tickets sold in each of the previous two years, showing that this is a very important event in the community. At the luncheon, recipients were recognized for the “I Have a Dream” Youth Award and the Adult Human Relations Award.
The Commission’s goals for the future involve education and collaboration: greater education of the Commission, educating the public about their rights, educating the business community about their responsibilities, and collaborating with other organizations to further the goals of the Commission. “Fostering better understanding and relations among our citizens” is certainly an important and very challenging mission and the efforts of those serving on the Human Relations Commission are helping to make a difference in Normal as well as the surrounding area.