February 6th, 2008, 11:30 a.m.
Human Relations Commission Agenda
City Commission Room, Fargo City Hall
1. Welcome and Introductions
2. Approval of Agenda
3. Approval of December 5th, 2007 Minutes
4. Announcements – Chuck Stebbins resignation, HRC members
available in April (2, 9, 23, or 30) to talk about what they’re doing,
Tri-College New Leadership Development Institute June 5-9
5. Presentation: Barry Nelson, Healthy Communities Initiative
6. FHRC Activities Plan
a. Follow up to the Planning retreat: Activities and
b. Potential project involving photos and stories of New
Americans (Maxine Adams to speak)
7. Funding Requests – Building Bridges Conference (Darci Asche to
speak), Metro Area Mayor’s Committee table
8. Draft budget 2008
9. Establish guidelines for sponsorship requests
10. Public comment (12:15)
11. Other Business not listed on the agenda
Present: Mitch Marr, Yoke Sim Gunaratne, Prairie Rose, Janeen Kobrinsky, Fowzia Adde, Hatem Nour
Absent: Joshua Boschee, Joy Rice
Chair Prairie Rose called the meeting to order.
Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
(11:38 a.m.) All those present were introduced.
Item 2. Approval of Agenda
(11:38 a.m.) Janeen Kobrinsky made a motion to approve the agenda as presented. Second by Yoke Sim Gunaratne. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 3. Approval of December 5, 2007 Minutes
(11:39 a.m.) All Members voted aye. The motion was declared carried.
Item 4. Announcements
(11:39 a.m.) Chair Prairie Rose announced that Chuck Stebbins has decided to resign as a Human Relations Commissioner. She stated she and Nate Bailly will meet with the Mayor to discuss Mr. Stebbins replacement.
Prairie Rose announced the Tri-College New Leadership Development Institute will be held June 5-9, 2008 and is an intense week-long event encouraging women in politics. She stated they will be requesting funding.
Item 5. Presentation: Barry Nelson, Healthy Communities Partnership
(11:43 a.m.) Barry Nelson updated the Commission on the Healthy Communities Partnership program. He said the program is based on a model of 40 defined developmental assets to help kids at risk succeed. He explained the 40 assets are meant to help kids grow up healthy, caring, and responsible rather than intervene when kids are at risk taking levels. A steering committee has also been formed to help direct the program.
Mr. Nelson also handed out and presented the results of the survey, profiling attitudes and behaviors of student life, conducted in May, 2007. Mr. Nelson stated the survey is based on the 40 developmental assets as identified by the “Search Institute”. Priorities are now being defined as a result of that survey. Mr. Nelson stated he hopes to engage groups, like the Human Relations Commission, to become involved in the program. Mr. Nelson also passed out a questionnaire he would like the Human Relations Commission Members to complete in response to the survey presented. Additional handouts given include: a pamphlet of “150 Ways to Show Kids You Care”; a listing of the Moorhead Healthy Community Initiative Board of Directors that reflects the expansion into the community; and a list of the complete assets and responses, including what kind of actions will be taken going forward.
Yoke Sim Gunaratne commented that she found the social competency to be really low.
Mr. Nelson concurred and stated that this is something that could be addressed.
Mr. Nelson further explained that the future focus is to have a strategic planning process and focus on those of color, work on the mentor link, and expand the scholarship program for activities of choice. He also informed the Commission that young people will be teaching those that are computer illiterate how they interact via the computer. The class will be held at the computer lab at Oak Grove. Calls can be directed to Pete at the Moorhead Healthy Communities Partnership to register.
Ms. Gunaratne asked about the amount of the scholarships that were given out.
Mr. Nelson answered that he does not have defined amounts as of yet. The scholarships come from locally raised funds. Fundraising still needs to be done in Fargo and there are no state funds. He stated that he has developed a database of donors and is recruiting to get the ball rolling. He is also planning a phone-a-thon.
Mitch Marr questioned how funds are given out to schools.
Mr. Nelson replied that individuals have received free or reduced lunches. He stated that 600 kids applied last year.
Mr. Nelson reiterated that he hopes the program can connect with groups and create networks that are interested in youth. Training will also be available for those who wish to join as an asset champion. There will be gatherings every quarter for asset champions to brainstorm and provide an opportunity to take what they are learning into the community.
Nate Bailly added that connecting to neighborhood associations might be an avenue for networking.
The asset building program is designed to branch out to get programs developed.
For more information, contact Nate or Nicole. The next training session is February 26, 2008 from
The Commission tabled the next items for a public comment period.
Item 6. FHRC Activities Plan
a. Follow up to the Planning retreat: Activities and assignments
(12:44 p.m.) Attached to the agenda is a copy of notes from the planning retreat. These will be reviewed at the next executive meeting.
Prairie Rose announced that there are four individuals from MSUM that will be assisting in the Know Your Rights (KYR) initiative. Fowzia Added volunteered for the KYR committee. Mitch Marr will also help.
Nate Bailly will send an email inviting everyone to the next executive committee meeting.
There was also discussion on whether to meet every other month and to meet at noon instead of 11:30 for the next Commission meeting.
b. Potential project involving photos and stories of New Americans
This item has been postponed until the next meeting.
Item 7. Funding Requests –Building Bridges Conference, Metro Area Mayor’s Committee table
(12:34 p.m.) Darci Asche spoke on the Building Bridges Conference that will be held March 17 and 18, 2008 at the Fargo Holiday Inn. The purpose of the conference is to provide information and technical training to community partners serving refugees in a variety of settings. There will explanation of what the legal process is for refugees to enter into the US. The conference will focus on 3 general tracks: 1. English language learners; 2. Health and mental well being of refugees; and 3. Community Integration of New Americans.
Ms. Asche extended an invitation to the Commission to attend the conference. She also made a $200.00 request for sponsorship for the event.
Janeen Kobrinsky moved to award $200.00 to the Building Bridges Conference. Second by Fowzia Adde. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 8. Draft Budget 2008
This item has been postponed until the next meeting.
Item 9. Establish guidelines for sponsorship requests
This item has been postponed until the next executive meeting.
Item 10. Public Comment (12:15)
(12:12 p.m.) Michael Huynh, a Fargo resident, spoke to the Commission in regards to how he feels minorities are mistreated. He stated he is getting hurt, and that there should be a class for people to avoid harassment. He stated minorities are being abused by silence. He asked how minorities can protect themselves. He further described an example on Sunday where his sister had asked for a translator and was denied. He stated a lot of people don’t speak English, and that this increases anxiety and depression in minorities.
Prairie Rose stated she is aware that there are few ways to educate on human rights. Having the KYR cards more available and having Lutheran Social Services offer orientation classes for new Americans will help in this area.
Ms. Gunaratne questioned whether all police officers are aware of and are trained to know when an interpreter is needed from MIRC (Metro Interpretive Resource Center).
Praire Rose will speak with Chief Ternes to verify if officers go through training to keep up with the community.
Mr. Huynh asked that information be passed out and requested that companies have classes at the workplace and have information ready for people. He stated the need for translation service.
Ms. Gunaratne encouraged that a letter be written to UND Law School to resume support and accessibility for legal services. She also suggested going online to get a list of translators from the American Local Translation service.”
Mitch Marr will follow up with UND Law School.
Item 11. Other Business not Listed on the Agenda
No other business was presented.
Item 12. Adjourn
The time at adjournment was 12:55 p.m.