Charlottesville Commission on Human Rights

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The Charlottesville Commission on Human Rights is a government body that is one of the outcomes of the city's Dialogue on Race. [1] The commission was charged with investigating claims of discrimination.

The following members were selected by the City Council:

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Jeannette Abi-Nader November 1, 2022
Idil Aktan November 1, 2022
Shantell Bingham, Chair November 1, 2022
Elliott Brown November 1, 2022
Pheobe Brown November 1, 2022
Ernest Chambers November 1, 2022
Melvin Grady November 1, 2020
Kathryn Laughon November 1, 2022
Sue Lewis November 1, 2022
Andrew Orban November 1, 2022
Olivia Patton November 1, 2021
Ann Smith November 1, 2020
Catherine Spear November 1, 2022
Matthew Tennant November 1, 2022
Lyndele von Schill November 1, 2021
Susi Wilbur, Vice Chair November 1, 2020
Robert Woodside November 1, 2022


"Promoting an inclusive, empowered, and diverse community through education, engagement, and enforcement of Charlottesville’s Human Rights Ordinance."Web. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION MEMBERS, City of Charlottesville, City Manager's Office, retrieved August 25, 2019.</ref>

Former Members


Before it was created, supporters of the commission claimed it would have the power to investigate claims of discrimination and enforce any anti-discrimination ordinances passed by the city council. [1] The proposed budget called afor an initial cost of $300,000 for the first year, and $200,000 for each year afterwards. Council was presented with this report on February 6, 2012. They directed staff to come back with a proposal to create a Human Rights Commission within ten months. [2]

The 11-member Human Rights Task Force hosted a community forum on June 6, 2012 at Buford Middle School to discuss the possible need for the commission. Information provided to the task force was to be compiled and presented to City Council late in 2012.[3]

Council voted 3-1 on May 20, 2013 on an ordinance to create the commission. Affirmative votes came from Dave Norris, Dede Smith and Kristin Szakos. Kathy Galvin voted against it and Satyendra Huja abstained. [4]

The first director, Zan Tewksbury, resigned in May 2015. [5]

The group discussed possible changes at their meeting on June 21, 2020. [6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. NAACP hears about race commission proposal, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, retrieved January 12, 2012.
  2. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, February 6, 2012.
  3. Web. City Invites Participation in Human Rights Task Force Community Forum, Newsplex, June 5, 2012, retrieved June 8, 2012.
  4. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, May 20, 2013.
  5. Web. Human Rights Commission under scrutiny after staffer’s resignation, Graelyn Brashear, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, May 21, 2015, retrieved March 17, 2018. Print. May 21, 2015 .
  6. Web. Human Rights Commission discusses changes to structure, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 21, 2020, retrieved June 28, 2020.