The Greensboro City Council will hold a virtual work session on Tuesday, Sept. 15 beginning at 3 p.m. with two items focusing on the Human Relations Department.

After decades of doing much of its work in the more informal work sessions, the current City Council had moved away from holding public work sessions. The in-depth discussions about topics were held in small self selected groups. Councilmembers who were left out of these decision making groups repeatedly complained about fully developed policies being presented to the council for the first time a regular meeting for a vote.

It appears the social distancing required by COVID-19 restrictions has forced the City Council back to discussing matters in public, or at least in virtual public with the entire City Council given the opportunity to participate.

At the meeting next week, the City Council is scheduled to discuss a request that the Human Relations Department change its name to the Department of Human Rights. According to the power point presentation:


“• Clear and Concise Understanding for the General Public

“• Enhances Customer Service Experience

“• Distinguishes from other Departments

“• Progressive Branding for City of Greensboro”

Also on the agenda is a request from the Human Relations Department that the Ad-hoc Committee on African American Disparity evolve into a permanent commission.

The reasons for focusing solely on African Americans according to the power point is:

“• Largest minority with unique barriers

“• Challenges, long-term, exceed those of immigrants and refugees

“• Critical to brand community as a place where African Americans among other minorities have the ability to thrive”

The committee will be charged with researching rules, policies and procedures in economic opportunity; education and workforce development; law enforcement, justice and accountability; housing and health disparities; and community engagement.

The presentation states, “Rules, policies, and procedures are not discriminatory on their face.”

The plan calls for the ad-hoc committee to become a permanent commission after no more than two years under the direction of the Human Relations Department, which at that time hopes to be the Department of Human Rights.