By Maria Cook
The Whitestown Human Relations Commission, which advises various town departments on matters of diversity, recently established two new committees: an LGBTQ+ Study Committee and a Mediation Committee.
According to Human Relations Commission Resolution 2018-01 and 2018-03, the LGBTQ+ Study Committee will be tasked with “seeking community input on the needs of the LGBTQ+ residents of the town of Whitestown” while the Mediation Committee will work to “informally resolve complaints of the community in an effort to resolve matters prior to formal complaints being brought to the Human Relations Commission.”
Andrew Markle, president of the Whitestown Human Relations Commission, said that some data collected by the LGBTQ+ Study Committee will help “determine whether or not we should provide more education for a minority group within the community, as we do with others that are under our protection in the comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance.”
According to Whitestown Director of Public Relations Tanya Sumner, the Mediation Committee hasn’t had to handle any complaints or conflicts yet.
“(The Human Relations Commission) thought it best to have a mediation process in place just in case a complaint of discrimination is filed,” she said.
As for community response to the formation of the committees, Sumner expects it to be largely positive.
“Community reaction to the creation of the Human Relations Commission has been extremely positive so far. In fact, many of our residents have commended us for being so proactive and forward-thinking for a town of our size when it comes to diversity issues,” Sumner said. “With Whitestown’s rapid growth and our changing demographics, I think it’s great to make sure all of our residents and all segments of our population feel represented and heard.”