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Protecting human rights – an unending task – Mad River Union

Friday, September 23, 2022

A s summer rapidly comes to a close, projects throughout the county are moving forward. The Human Rights Commission is still understaffed but joyfully welcomed two new members, Jamie Jensen and Ellen Murphy, both active in social work in our county.
Ms. Murphy has recently tabulated the results of her human rights survey conducted for the commission. While the final summary has yet to be completed, the initial findings are eye-opening.
Most of the respondents have a basic understanding of human rights, best summed up by an anonymous respondent as “safety, wellness and dignity we all deserve while living in this world together.”
Among the submissions violations of human rights in the county centered on houselessness, lack of medical and behavioral health resources and law enforcement especially related to cannabis cultivation and human trafficking, immigration and racial profiling. Only 15 percent of the responders believe human rights are adequately protected here, with over 50 percent (among adults) and nearly 75 percent (among teens) believing they are not. Most disconcerting for the commission itself was our lack of visibility with over half of the respondents unaware of the commission itself. The logo contest has been extended through the end of the year and the creation of a Junior Human Rights Commission at the local schools will hopefully increase awareness of our presence in the county.
Fall promises to be busy with the continuing impact of homelessness. The state legislatures overwhelming passage of the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment Act (CARE) this month promises to provide more funding for our local behavioral health department among other agencies. It also promises to create more controversy as homeless individuals are subjected to more legal action including longer confinement.
Finally, the Commission hopes to hear from Cal Poly Humboldt President Jackson as he addresses changes to the campus and their impact locally and throughout the county.

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