Mayor Appoints New Chair of CHR, Eight New Commissioners
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently appointed a new chair of the City Commission on Human Rights (CHR): Carmelyn Malalis, a partner at the law firm Outten & Golden LLP. He also appointed eight new commissioners to the agency. Ms. Malalis replaces Patricia Gatling.
“Hailing from Brooklyn to Brazil and ranging from rabbis to pastors, today’s appointees represent a diverse, progressive, and exceptionally qualified group sharing an unwavering commitment to safeguard the rights and dignity of all people in New York City,” de Blasio said in a statement.
“I’m confident that with Carmelyn at the helm of CCHR, this agency will be a robust enforcer of our fundamental civil rights and improve community relations among New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs,” he added.
Ms. Malalis is one of de Blasio’s last major appointees. At the law firm, she co-chaired the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Workplace Rights Practice Group and the Family Responsibilities and Disability Discrimination Practice Group. In these roles, she was tasked with a large litigation and negotiation docket, including class actions and individual client cases, and she advised clients on a broad array of employment-related matters. Her work also includes several advocacy and pro bono projects in collaboration with grassroots organizations and legal services providers advocating on behalf of low-wage and immigrant workers, LGBT employees, and women in the workplace.
The commission is charged with enforcing discrimination laws in the city. Once a robust agency, it suffered budget cuts under the Giuliani administration and was given new focus by former Mayor Bloomberg. Eight commissioners will also replace eight part-time Bloomberg-era appointees. They are:
Ana Oliveira. An immigrant from São Paulo, Brazil, she is the president and chief executive officer of The New York Women’s Foundation and has spent more than 25 years working in the field of public health for under-served populations. Oliveira previously led the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and co-chaired the Young Men’s Initiative.
Catherine Albisa. She is the co-founder and director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, and is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health.
Arnaldo Segarra. He is a lifelong organizer who began his political career at the East Harlem Tenants Council in the mid-60s. A well-known activist, Segarra served in the Lindsay administration as Special Assistant for Puerto Rican Affairs.
Domna Stanton. She has served as a member of the board of Human Rights Watch for 10 years, and remains a part of the organization’s Women’s Right Division and the Policy Committee. A distinguished professor at CUNY Graduate Center, Stanton’s current PhD seminar focuses on human rights and critical theory.
Steven Choi. Since 2013, he has been the executive director for the New York Immigration Coalition. Previously, Choi worked as the executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action and director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum. She is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and a human rights activist. She has rallied for causes ranging from farmers’ rights to LGBT equality, and protested the proliferation of nuclear weapons. She has previously worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.
Jonathan Greenspun. He is a political consultant and a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the Community Affairs Unit commissioner. Prior to working for the City of New York, Greenspun served under Governor George E. Pataki. Greenspun’s political work includes Mike Bloomberg’s 2001 mayoral campaign, Rick Lazio’s 2000 Senate campaign, Al D’Amato’s 1998 Senate campaign, and Governor Pataki’s 1994 and 1998 gubernatorial campaigns.
Reverend Dr. Demetrius Carolina. An outspoken civil rights advocate, he is the pastor of the First Central Baptist Church on Staten Island.