Human Relations Commission

Promoting human dignity, equal opportunity, mutual respect and harmony

Last updated Jul. 09, 2018 - 3:06 pm
  • Upcoming Meeting

  • July 12, 2018
  • 6:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.
  • Agenda
  • Meets: Second Thursday of each month
  • Meeting Location

  • City of Raleigh Municipal Building
  • 222 W. Hargett Street
  • City Council Chambers
  • Raleigh, NC 27601

Public Participation

Everyone is invited to attend meetings of the Commission.

If you would like to schedule an appearance before the Commission, contact Marionna Poke-Stewart at 919-996-6100


The City of Raleigh's Human Relations Commission (RHRC) serves as an advisor to the City Council in the area of human services and human rights. Human relations shall mean those activities which promote human dignity, equal opportunity and harmony among the many different citizens who make up the population of the City. This definition shall include those activities and programs classified as promoting the general wellbeing of citizens without regard to race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, or national origin in their daily activities.

At its inception, the Human Relations Commission was charged with evaluating human services and human relations within the city and making recommendations to the City Council in areas where its action was required. Initially, these responsibilities carried with them the authority to receive complaints from citizens and to attempt to reconcile disputes within the community.

While the authority to mediate or reconcile complaints from citizens has been removed from the Commission, the supporting language for the Commission confirms an authority to make recommendations to the City Council in the area of human services and human relations. To that end, the Commission will invite speakers to make presentations on issues generally involving questions of diversity and human dignity at its meetings and will make recommendations to the Council for their consideration.


The Commission sponsors a number of activities that promote diversity and human relations. Among them:

  • Human Relations Awards

The annual Human Relations Awards recognize those who make outstanding contributions to advancing human rights in our city. Awards go to individuals, organizations, businesses and students.

  • Mayor's Unity Day Celebration

This annual event brings people together to share ideas that enhance understanding of diverse cultures and improve human relations. Community, faith, business and education leaders, along with residents who want to strengthen human relations, come together to learn about diversity, share insights and build an open and inviting community.

  • Human Services Grants

The Commission reviews requests from human services agencies seeking grants from the City and makes recommendations to the City Council. The grants are awarded annually to nonprofits that serve the elderly, youth, handicapped, substance abusers and homeless.

  • Community Dialogues

The Commission sponsored a series of dialogues that engaged the public in how the City of Raleigh can best serve its increasingly diverse population.


  • Chris Moutos
  • Chairperson
  • Serving: 2nd Re-Term, 3/19/2016 - 3/18/2018
  • Emily Kissee
  • Vice-Chairperson
  • Serving: 1st Term, 4/22/2017-4/21/2019
  • Melissa Florer-Bixler
  • Secretary
  • Serving: 1st Term - 2/21/18 - 2/20/20
  • Wrenia Bratts-Brown
  • Serving: 2nd Term, 4/16/2016 - 4/15/2018
  • Tanzeel Chohan
  • Serving: 2nd Re-Term, 4/16/2016 - 4/15/2018
  • Eric Handy
  • Serving: 1st Term, 2/8/2017 - 2/7/2019
  • Keith Karlsson
  • Serving: 1st Term, 7/5/2016 - 7/6/2018
  • Mary Lucas
  • Serving: 1st Re-Term, 3/22/2017 - 3/21/2019
  • Sabrina Palmer
  • Serving: 2nd Term, 12/2/2016 - 12/1/2018
  • James Purington
  • Serving: 2nd Term, 6/6/2016 - 6/7/2018
  • Taty Padilla
  • Serving: 1st Term, 3/1/2016 - 3/15/2018
  • Duane Hall
  • Serving: 1st Term - 2/7/18 - 2/6/20
  • Mary Thompson
  • Serving: 1st Term - 7/4/18 - 7/3/20

Human Services Agency Funding

The City of Raleigh awards grants annually to nonprofit organizations that provide services to Raleigh residents who belong to five targeted groups: the elderly, youth, persons with handicaps or disabilities, substance abusers and homeless individuals.

To qualify for a grant, an applicant must be a private nonprofit organization with headquarters in the City of Raleigh. An applicant must have at least one year of recent experience in the delivery of services, maintain 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status and demonstrate sensitivity to the special needs of its clientele.

Grants are awarded on a fiscal-year basis. The Raleigh Human Relations Commission makes recommendations to the Raleigh City Council on which applications to approve.

Here are the steps that the City of Raleigh follows in receiving, reviewing and approving grant applications:

  1. Nonprofits interested in receiving grants submit applications to the Community Engagement Division each fall.
  2. The applications are reviewed by a subcommittee consisting of five members of the Human Relations Commission and one representative each from the City of Raleigh Substance Abuse Advisory Commission, Wake County Human Services, the nonprofit community and United Way of the Greater Triangle.
  3. The subcommittee submits its recommendations to the full Human Relations Commission. The Commission considers and discusses the subcommittee's recommendations, then forwards its recommendations to the city manager.
  4. The city manager submits the Commission's recommendations to the City Council for final action as part of its budget approval. Grant applicants receive notification of the City Council's decision.
  5. The Volunteer and Human Services Division ensures that grant recipients perform the services for which they received funding.

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