The time has come. This Tuesday morning, June 6th, at the meeting of the OC Board of Supervisors there will be an important decision made that greatly affects our non-profit.
Orange County staff called us yesterday to inform us that if the Board of Supervisors does not approve our winning bid to provide staff support to the OC Human Relations Commission, our nonprofit (the OC Human Relations Council) will be evicted from our office in a matter of days on July 1, 2017 Please read on…
We are in need of persuasive speakers and supporters to talk for 2 minutes each on our behalf at 9:30am on Tuesday morning, June 6 at the meeting of the OC Board of Supervisors (located at the Hall of Administration, 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana).
Please stand with us and share your story about the good work we have been instrumental in helping the OC Human Relations Commission with over the years.
Below are some points to consider talking about, or to send in an email or letter of support.
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Want to Contact the Board of Supervisors before Tuesday’s Meeting?
Find your Supervisor’s contact info here: ocgov.com/gov/bos.
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What’s been happening?
OC Human Relations, our Orange County based nonprofit founded 25 years ago (upon suggestion of the Board of Supervisors and Commissioners back then), provides staff support for the public Orange County Human Relations Commission.
We have been able to provide support via a contract that goes through the County’s Bid System. Our nonprofit has provided this staff support for the last 6 years and we won the bid to do so again for the upcoming 2017-18 Fiscal Year.
The turn of events:
Unfortunately, a couple of Supervisors are skeptical about this 25-year-old Public/Private partnership between our nonprofit and the Commission. As of late, we have not been able to have any direct communication with those supervisors, as our meetings with them have been cancelled or our queries left without any direct response. This has been discouraging.
In April, we were shocked to learn that some Supervisors had deleted the OC Community Resources staff recommendation to fund the nonprofit to continue staffing the Commission. Further, in the deletion memo, it was alleged that our nonprofit had violated the Brown Act–however the nonprofit has not been given a copy of any of the documents alleging violations or short comings of our organization–despite our request for that information, nor have we been given feedback on these actions taken, even with requests for their perspectives and concerns.
As you can imagine, this experience is incredibly upsetting, especially given our experience and expertise in mediating conflict and bridging communication gaps between groups and people over the decades.
SO…, these efforts are holding up our funding for the incredible Commission staff we employ: Norma Lopez- Director, Don Han- Hate Crime Coordinator and Police /Community Reconciliation mediator, and Joyce Sanchez- Dialogue and Listening Session Specialist.
IF we don’t get the support of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, we will lose funding for our three Commission staff, and our entire organization will be evicted on 24 days notice. Truly harsh measures given our 25 year partnership, and nationally recognized human relations programs.
It would mean the world to us if you would speak on our behalf on June 6th. Thank you for your consideration and support!
How our programs impact our community:
As you know, we believe that ALL people should be able to live free of prejudice, violence and discrimination. We envision a community where all people feel safe, valued and included, and provide proactive, inter-group relations and violence prevention programs in schools and communities. Last year, our programs reached more than 50,000 Orange County residents. Our programs and services include:
* BRIDGES Safe and Respectful Schools Program: We engage more than 25,000 students, parents and teachers annually in building school climates where ALL students feel safe and included. The multi-year BRIDGES program also includes annual Walk In My Shoes Student Symposiums, year-long Student Leadership Internship Programs and week-long Summer Leadership Camps.
*Hate Crime Education: Since our nonprofit began, we’ve collaborated with others to collect, track, report and respond to hate crimes and hate crime victims in Orange County. Our experts train community members, educators, students and law enforcement on hate crime activity.
* Police-Community Relations: With a long history of partnering with law enforcement and community, we train police departments in working with diverse communities. We assist police and community members to effectively and peacefully resolved complaints via neutral mediation.
* Community Building: We develop grassroots leadership skills with community leaders; promote meaningful and peaceful interaction among diverse residents; lead community dialogues and leadership programming; partner with cities to tackle human relations problems together as they arise; and highlight and honor diverse local human relations heroes at an annual awards event.
* Dispute Resolution: We provide community conflict resolution and mediation services that enable many disputes to be settled out of court in a quick, efficient and cost-effective manner. We offer a positive approach in our mediation programs and utilize dialogue as an alternative to violence and litigation. We train and certify court, community, family law, and youth mediators, many of whom become volunteers. This also includes court-based multi-lingual dispute resolution services.
A few points you could share with the Supervisors:
1. We are seeking Board approval of the nonprofit, OC Human Relations, WINNING BID to continue to provide staff support to the Commission.
2. Share why OC Human Relations and the Commission are important to you…
3. The Commission can adapt to the changing vision of the Board of Supervisors and the nonprofit is here to assist. Please do not take action that will destroy all that has been built based on the vision of the previous Boards of Supervisors.
4. There are real, growing concerns that we can effectively address together in partnership:
5. We hold strongly that Advocacy for the Homeless is crucial at this time when so many are concerned about the homeless people on the streets, yet feel they should be sheltered somewhere else.
Please mark your calendars and stand with us.
Board of Supervisors Meeting
Next Tuesday, June 6 at 9:30am.
(Come early to clear security and submit a speakers request)
First Floor Board Hearing Room
OC Hall of Administration
333 W Santa Ana Blvd,
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Paid parking can be found:
*Speakers should arrive early and immediately fill out and turn in speaking requests to the Clerk of the Board by the Podium.
Thank you for your support and good wishes!
Together, we will continue to make Orange County a better place for ALL people to live, work, go to school and do business!
Rusty Kennedy, CEO
Alison Edwards, Deputy Director
Melissa Morgan, Director of Partnerships
and the nonprofit Board of Directors of OC Human Relations