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Human Rights Office

the PWC Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Office

Mission: "To eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity for all persons within the county through advocacy and education."

 

      NOW ACCEPTING STUDENT LEADERSHIP COUNCIL APPLICATIONS

 

The Prince William County Human Rights Commission is looking for high school students who are interested in civics and government to serve on its Student Leadership Council. Sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in public, private and homeschools in Prince William County are eligible to apply for this year's leadership council starting on Sept. 15. All applications must be received by the end of the day on Sept. 29.

Prince William County Human Rights Commission Executive Director Phyllis Aggrey said that the students who are selected to be on the council will learn about local, state and federal government "through the lens of human rights enforcement." Members will also be taught about their rights and responsibilities and what to do if they experience or see discrimination as they enter the work environment.

Aggrey said she thinks it's important that young people learn about government. "It's important for them to know about their government, how to talk to their legislators, as well as learning about the opportunities and career paths in government."

The new student council will meet once a month, beginning in November, for five months each school year at the Kelly Leadership Center. During the five sessions, members will pick human rights issues that are of interest to them. The council members will work to put together a media campaign on the issue and present it to one another. They will also present to a subcommittee of the Human Rights Commission consisting of commission members and county human rights staff, Aggrey said.

During several of the sessions, the students will hear from speakers representing local, state and federal government to learn a bit about how government operates at all levels. The speakers, in conjunction with the project the students work on, will hopefully foster an interest in government service, Aggrey said. "It's to help the students have more of a real-life experience of what they're learning in civics and government classes."

Tinbite Kelemwork, president of the Human Rights Student Leadership Council and a senior at Osbourn Park High School, said she believes the council offers high school students the opportunity to prepare for the advanced courses that lie ahead. "This is something that really gives you a foot up.  If you love government, if you love history, if you love leadership, this is something that really gives you a chance to start off somewhere as a student before you go to college."

To fill out and submit an application for the Human Rights Student Leadership Council, visit the Prince William County Human Rights Commission's website and click on the left tab labeled Student Leadership Council.  Questions about the student council can be directed to the Human Rights Office at 703-792-4680 or email pwhrc@pwcgov.org.

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WHO IS THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

In 1991 the Prince William County Board of Supervisors authorized the creation of a Human Rights Study Committee to examine the need for a human rights commission based on growing diversity, population needs and resources. After several meetings and public hearings, the Study Committee determined that a need for a Human Rights Ordinance and an agency to enforce it existed. The Human Rights Ordinance would prohibit discriminatory practices based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, marital status or disability, in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit, in Prince William County. In Sept. 1992 the Board of County Supervisors established a Human Rights Ordinance, which created the Human Rights Commission to ensure that “each citizen is treated fairly, provided equal protection of the law and equal opportunity to participate in the benefits, rights, and privileges of community life.”

On Jan. 15, 1993, the Human Rights Ordinance became effective and the Commission Office opened to provide services. Residents are encouraged to use its services if they feel their rights are being violated in the areas of employment, fair housing, credit, education and public accommodation.​ 

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