Human Rights Advisory Committee Formed, Will Survey Community Text Size

Last November, Mayor Alex Morse announced that he would be forming a Human Rights Advisory Committee to advise his office. The purpose of the committee was to ensure that issues of basic human rights would be brought to the fore and made a central priority of his administration. The committee’s role is strictly advisory.


After receiving many applications from Holyoke residents of a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, Mayor Morse selected four people, all residents of Holyoke, to serve on the committee: Diana Sutton-Fernandez, Chris Clark, Ysaaca Axelrod, and Jeffery Anderson-Burgos.  


Diana Sutton-Fernandez has worked at Hampshire College since 1999 where currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the College.


Chris Clark DHM is the Director of Decice Hall at the Marian Center in Holyoke, the Catholic religious advisor to Amherst College, and an adjunct faculty member at Elms College’s Institute of Theology and Pastoral Studies.


Ysaaca Axelrod is the Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at the College of Education at UMass Amherst.  


Jeffery Anderson-Burgos is a recent graduate of Holyoke Community College, where he received an Associate’s Degree in Sociology and served as the student body president. He transferred to UMass Amherst where he will pursue a degree in Political Science.


The mission of the Holyoke Rights Advisory Committee is to advocate for human rights, justice and equal opportunity for all residents in the city of Holyoke. The committee will seek input from the community and make recommendations to the mayor to further improve the lives and experiences of all Holyoke residents.


After four meetings, the committee has decided upon the following goals:


1- Conduct a city-wide survey that will help us to understand the perspectives and experiences of our residents.

2-Share survey results and provide an executive summary Recommendations

3- Create a website as a resource for residents around issues of human rights

4- Draft a Human Rights Policy

5- Act to promote equity in Holyoke, to insure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, gender identity, lifestyle, or age for all persons residing in Holyoke.


In the coming weeks, the committee will be setting up its own email account for soliciting feedback from the community.

Posted on August 12, 2015 by