The City of Allentown passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in the 1960s to foster a mutual understanding between all residents and entities to eradicate discrimination. This legislation served as the foundation for the Allentown Human Relations Commission, who were charged with implementing the ordinances.
Under this ordinance, all residents in the City of Allentown are given equal opportunity to enjoy and exercise the full benefits of citizenship and residency and equal opportunities for employment, housing, and use of public accommodation facilities. These benefits are available to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, place of birth, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marriage status, age (over 40), family status in housing, handicap or disability, or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical disability. The ordinances establish characteristics to define protected classes and persons protected from discrimination.
Human Relations Commissioners are responsible for collaborating with the commission to fulfill the ordinances established in Chapter 27-7 Amended 7-15-2020 by Ord. No. 15617. Per the ordinances, the commissioners, appointed by the mayor, will carry out the following powers and duties:
- Adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind rules and regulations to affect the policies and provisions of [Chapter 27-7] and to make recommendations to agencies of the City of Allentown and the City Council thereof to affect such policies.
- Initiate, receive, investigate and pass upon complaints charging unlawful discriminatory practices in violation of Sections 181.03, 181.04, 181.05, 181.06 taking place within the City limits of Allentown.
- Study the problems of discrimination and foster, through community effort or otherwise, good will among the groups and elements of the population of the city.
- Issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as, in its judgement, will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination.
Commissioners will, in collaboration, advance the 2030 vision of the City of Allentown and the Mayor’s initiatives, promote diversity, equity, and inclusive practices for protected classes in the areas of housing and employment and public accommodations, and use findings from research to create and recommend evidence-based practices to reduce acts of discrimination and foster collaboration among residents of Allentown.
If you wish to become a member of the Allentown Human Relations Commission, please fill out the Request for Appointment.
Desirable member qualifications include:
- Experience with disenfranchised, marginalized, and underserved populations.
- Demonstrated engagement in community affairs and policy development is desirable.
- Demonstrated ability and willingness to collaborate with other professionals to develop strategic plans that include goals,objectives, and interventions to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for protected classes and vulnerable populations.
- Willingness to mentor students to aid in talent retention and identify potential community members to serve on the commission.
- Alignment with the mission, vision, and goals of the commission.
- Commitment to learning and professional and personal development.
- Solution-focused in one’s approach to problems and areas for development within the commission and matters related to the function of the commission.