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Dutchess County Human Rights Commission Hosts Listening Session Series
Listening Session Series Kicks Off June 15th in Millerton

Published: 6/9/2017

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie…The Dutchess County Human Rights Commission has announced it will host a series of “Listening Sessions” beginning on Thursday, June 15th at the North East Community Center in Millerton from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.   The listening sessions are opportunities for community members to meet with members of the Human Rights Commission and discuss the issues that concern them most in their community.  The Listening Sessions are part of series of initiatives the Human Rights Commission has launched as part of its stated mission of “Protecting Human Rights, Building Bridges, and Embracing Diversity.”

"We are committed to an inclusive and respectful community for all - with the human rights of every individual protected and championed,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “We are grateful to those who serve on the Human Rights Commission, who have been actively demonstrating the commitment to fostering mutual respect and understanding and serving as a resource for those who feel they have been subject to bias or discrimination."

The Dutchess County Human Rights Commission was re-established last year by County Executive Molinaro, in partnership with the Dutchess County Legislature, to serve as a resource for the community to identify, address, and stop discriminatory behavior, address and resolve discriminatory practices, and foster mutual respect and understanding throughout the county.  The Commission is chaired by Dutchess County's Human Rights /Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Jody Miller, and is composed of 14 volunteer members, selected through an application process, who reflect a range of experience in the fields of government, health, psychology, social work, education, mediation, law, spiritual and religious life, and social justice.  View a list of the current Commission members.

The Commission has been actively planning and organizing events to engage the community in dialogue.  Among the initiatives being organized or co-organized by the Commission are the Listening Sessions, the “100 Cups of Coffee” Transformative Dialogue Project and the Hudson Valley observance of International Human Rights Day.   The pilot “100 Cups of Coffee” project, in collaboration with the Northern Dutchess NAACP and the Dutchess County Interfaith Council, which has focused on the City of Poughkeepsie and provides opportunities for individuals to engage in cross-cultural conversations, has already held six meetings with more to be scheduled.  The International Human Rights Day event was held in December in partnership with the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, and the United Nations Association of the Mid-Hudson Valley.  The 2017 International Human Rights Day event is scheduled for December 8th, 2017.

Dutchess County Legislator Barbara Jeter-Jackson said, “The Dutchess County Human Rights Commission is a valuable resource for people who believe they are facing issues of discrimination and having  providing opportunities for the community to come together for greater understanding of concerns and issues.   I encourage everyone to take part in the upcoming events to help build a stronger community.”

The newest initiative is the kickoff of the Listening Session series.   The Commission is aiming to hold these sessions in every part of Dutchess County.  Upcoming Listening Session dates are:

• Thursday, June 15th at the Northeast Community Center, 51 Center Street in Millerton from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
• Thursday, July 13th at Howland Library, 313 Main Street in Beacon from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
• Thursday, September 28th at the Red Hook Community Center at 59 Fisk Street, Red Hook from 6:00pm to 7:30pm

For more information about the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission, upcoming events, or about membership on the Commission, please visit