PHRC will also host several public events to seek community input

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Human Relations Commission (PHRC) has kicked off a new comprehensive public awareness campaign entitled Discrimination is Illegal. The campaign is designed to inform people of their rights and provide information on how to report discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, credit, education and public accommodations.

The message, Discrimination is Illegal, can be found on bus shelters, RIPTA buses and in newspapers, it’s also being broadcast on local radio stations. According to Human Relations Commission Executive Director Melba Depena, the goal of the campaign is to encourage residents who feel that they have been the victim of discrimination to file a complaint with the Commission.

“We’ve worked hard over the past year to strengthen the Human Relations Commission to ensure that it meets the current needs of our residents,” said Depena. “In addition to promoting social justice through advocacy, training and education, we stand ready to investigate any complaints of alleged discrimination.”

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“We are very excited and encouraged by this tangible evidence of revival of the Providence Human Relations Commission after several months of dormancy and rebuilding,” stated Thomas P. Whitten, Chairman, Human Relations Commission. “Thanks to the cooperation, diligence and support of Mayor Cicilline, the commission now has a full complement of dedicated commissioners and a well prepared, highly qualified staff.”

In addition to the public awareness campaign, the PHRC is also hosting a series of events in an effort to seek more community input to help guide the PHRC’s mission of promoting equality, and to reach out to communities most affected by discrimination. The PHRC hosted a Breakfast of Champions on Thursday, June 28th in an effort to solicit input from community leaders on the agency’s mission. Other upcoming events include:

o Intercultural Communication in the Workplace – July 31st
Workshop aimed at fostering better relationship among co-workers of different race and ethnicity through communication.

o Fair Housing in Rhode Island – August 7th
Workshop will review state and federal fair housing practices and laws as it applies to housing providers to avoid discrimination against tenants and rental applicants.

For more information on the Breakfast of Champions and the upcoming workshops, contact the Human Relations Commission at (401) 351-0475 or visit the City’s Web site at