Human Rights Commission

October 10, 2023 A statement of support for Israel and Palestine 

“The Human Rights Commission of Amherst wishes to express our deep concern for the renewed violence in Israel and Palestine. We express sympathy towards all innocent people, especially children in these areas, and call on all parties to seek non-violent solutions and to adhere to International Human Rights Conventions.”

Previous Statements of Support by the HRC

This year marks the 108th year of the first genocide of the 20th century.
Amherst Media will be re-broadcasting the Town of Amherst's 100th Commemoration of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, a Town sanctioned event that Adrienne Terrizzi organized and was co-sponsored by the HRC on the North Common in April 2015.  Amherst Media will be airing the film from its archives this Friday, April 7, 10:30 am on Channel 12.
A Statement of Support for the Nichols Family 

We, the Amherst Human Rights Commission, condemn the senseless murder of Tyre Nichols and call for meaningful change in our country’s approach to policing and public safety. This murder of yet another unarmed Black man at the hands of police is disheartening and highlights the real need for change in our country regarding how we view policing. The people who the public put their trust in to ensure public safety in Memphis Tennessee failed in keeping Nichols safe and unharmed and were complicit in his death. The video released late last week showed that these responders did not have Tyre Nichols’s health and human rights at the top of their priority. We offer our condolences to the Nichols’ family for the murder of their loved one Tyre Nichols who was a father, son, brother, and friend who loved to skateboard and had a passion for photography.  

                                             A statement of Support for the Rosa Family
The Amherst Human Rights Commission is aware of the incident that occurred on September 3, 2022, on Yale University’s campus, involving a Latinx New Haven resident and Amherst native. The unsolicited attack was more than just an interaction gone awry on a street, it was a racially motivated and targeted attempt at harm. We acknowledge this as a hate crime and denounce the perpetrator's behavior towards any and all in our BIPOC community, no matter the distance they’ve gone from our town. To the family that still lives in Amherst, we extend our condolences as neighbors, fellow residents, and friends.

In light of this recent hateful act, we offer our support. We acknowledge our own limitations as an Amherst-based commission, but we will utilize our position and resources within our jurisdiction to spread the word and any call of possible action from our town officials. Discussions within the HRC have already occurred, and will continue to do so until we have exhausted all possible options in the fight for the family’s justice and closure. The town of Amherst is at your disposal.

Amherst Bulletin
Yale News

                                                     A Statement of Support for Amherst Youth

The Amherst Human Rights Commission is aware of an incident that occurred on July 5, 2022 involving Amherst youth and the Amherst Police Department.  The Human Rights Commission acknowledges that that every person has rights no matter their age, race,/ethnicity, gender, able body, and class.  This Commission has voted to file a complaint with the Town Human Rights Director and Police Department requesting that this situation be viewed for possible Human Rights violations.  We have requested a quick response to our request with follow-up as appropriate.  

                                                     A Statement of Support for Ukraine
The Amherst Human Rights Commission acknowledges the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a Human Rights issue. The Amherst Human Rights Commission expresses our collective solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all that have been affected by this conflict and we hope for a peaceful resolution.

Statement Denouncing Violence and Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders 

A joint statement from the Town Manager, Police Chief, and School Superintendent

Our Mission

To ensure that no power goes unchecked, and that all citizens are afforded equal protection under the law.

The Human Rights Commission shall act to promote the Town of Amherst’s Human Rights Policy, to insure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, lifestyle, or age for all persons coming within the Town of Amherst. 

The Commission shall advise the Town and assist the Town Manager and Human Resources and Rights Director in the achievement of affirmative action/equal opportunity objectives, conduct and participate in educational activities related to its responsibilities, provide mediation, and review matters brought to its attention. 


Human Rights Commission meetings are open to the public and are generally scheduled from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the third Wednesday of the month, unless noted.  Meetings are posted at least 48 hours in advance.  Please check the Town calendar for date and time of the next meeting. 


 NameAppointedTerm Expires
Elizabeth Haygood, Chair20202026
Joy Ifill20232025
LaVerne Kelly 20222026
Rizwana Khan20232024
Debra Kolodny 20232026
Tylar Matsuo20222024
Rani Parker20222025
Jacinta Smith 20232025
Vacancy (1)

Pamela Young, Staff Liaison

Jennifer Moyston, Staff Liaison  

 Appointed by the Town Manager: 9 members / 3 year term 

How to Become a Commission Member

Commissioners are Amherst residents appointed to rotating 3 year term. If you are interested in becoming a Commissioner, please complete and submit the Community Activity Form. In addition to Commission meetings, membership involves networking with other social justice groups, planning and conducting public events, advocacy, and promotion of the mission. At full capacity, the Commission has nine members.