In 1971, the Orange County Board of Supervisors created the Human Relations Commission as a pilot project to build mutual understanding among residents and to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination. Twenty years later, as a result of the Los Angeles riots, the Orange County Human Relations Council was created as a partner agency to the Human Relations Commission. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit sought to expand the vision and augment the goals of the Commission by offering much-needed programs and services to the community via a nonprofit organization.
Thus, in 1991, the Council and the Commission became two separate, but related, arms in a renewed human relations strategy. This innovative public/private structure became known simply as OC Human Relations.
With the mission: “to foster mutual understanding among residents and eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination in order to make Orange county a better place for ALL people to live, work and do business,” OC Human Relations has become a leader in establishing model programs such as the BRIDGES Safe & Respectful Schools Program, Police Community Reconciliation Program, Dispute Resolution Program, Community Building Initiative, grassroots leadership development and an annual OC Human Relations AWARDS event. We also provide support to the county’s Board of Supervisors regarding human relations issues and respond as needed to human relations crisis situations.
In 2011, as OC Human Relations celebrated its 40th anniversary, it underwent significant changes due to budget cuts by the County Board of Supervisors and county became entirely a non-profit organization. Now four decades later, OC Human Relations provides its award-winning nonprofit programs and services to Orange County’s three million residents and contracts with the county to continue to serve the Human Relations Commission.
As a long-term servant-leader in Orange County, the non-profit OC Human Relations continues to work to build a future free of prejudice and discrimination where all people are valued and included. At present, OC Human Relations has a diverse staff of 17 full-time and two part-time non-profit employees who are committed to identifying and addressing the unique human relations issues in our communities and schools and empowering residents with the tools and leadership skills to effectively address those issues. Click here to learn more about the individuals who make up OC Human Relations.