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The Inter-Group Relations (IGR) division of the Commission on Human Relations reacts to incidents of violence and proactively provides educational workshops to reduce discrimination and hate while promoting inter-group understanding. Chicago, like other large urban cities, experiences conflicts and community tensions that are often fueled by misunderstanding and fear in areas undergoing change based on race, class or culture. This can include gentrification, immigration, and also the relocation of public housing residents into new communities. IGR staff members work to identify key stakeholders and leaders in these communities to discuss concerns and develop community-based solutions. This unit is regularly called upon in times of crisis to intercede in communities where violence may have occurred or has the potential for occurring. Many of these conflicts occur in or around schools, and in communities between residents and neighbors.
Strategies to increase awareness of civil-rights protections, prevent violence against protected classes, and advocate for hate crime victims:
Violence and hate crimes are most often based on race, religious differences, sexual orientation, or gender identity, therefore increased outreach to schools and communities is a priority.
IGR staff members can mediate community tensions and conflict. They can also deliver presentations explaining the protections offered under Chicago’s Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances, how to file a complaint of discrimination, and how to call for assistance if someone is a victim of a hate crime. In addition, they can advocate on behalf of victims of hate crimes.
Kelly Saulsberry, Director of Policy and Outreach
Norman White, Hate Crimes Specialist
Aracelis Castañeda, Human Relations Specialist
Jennifer Scott, Human Relations Specialist