The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), a quasi-independent agency based at City Hall, has a new chairman and vice chairwoman.
The CHRC's board of directors has elected Robert Harris to serve as chairman, and Carla Walker to serve as vice chairwoman.
Harris works with the Center for Independent Living Options in Mount Auburn as a peer-service coordinator to help disabled people reach their maximum level of self-sufficiency. Also, he volunteers with the Juvenile Justice Center, where instructs youth offenders on how to play chess.
Walker is the ex-chief of staff for Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and currently operates Think BIG Strategies, a project management consulting firm. She is a former aide to then-Mayor Roxanne Qualls and an ex-director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.
Created in 1943 as the Mayor's Friendly Relations Committee, the CHRC was designed to promote harmony and tolerance within the city. In 1965, as race riots swept across the nation, the organization was renamed the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and charged with improving race relations.
The CHRC operates independently from the city, but has an office at City Hall and is paid through a City Council-approved contract that specifies its mission, which includes monitoring hate crimes and mediating and resolving disputes, providing youth development, prevention and community policing programs, and providing regular reports to City Council and the city manager.