NCRC’s membership includes more than 600 community-focused organizations in 44 states. Here’s an introduction to one of them, City of Dayton Human Relations Council, from their Deputy Director, Joann Mawasha.
Tell us about your organization’s mission/focus area.
Established in 1962 by the Dayton City Commission, the Dayton Human Relations Council (HRC) enforces civil rights, provides business and technical assistance to minority-owned, woman-owned and small disadvantaged businesses; and hosts the Dayton Minority Business Assistance Center. We administer community relations initiatives that promote and maintain peace, goodwill and harmony, assist in reducing intergroup tensions, and ensure equality of treatment and opportunity to all who live, work, play and gather in the city of Dayton.
Describe a current challenge in your community and how your organization is addressing this?
A current challenge that we are facing in our nation as well as the Dayton community is the relationship between the community and law enforcement. The Community Appeals Board (CAB), staffed by the Human Relations Council, seeks to create an environment of transparency and accountability as well as unity and harmony. CAB hears appeals of citizens who are unsatisfied with the conclusions of Dayton Police Department (DPD) investigations of potential misconduct. Although the community oversight process is fairly new in most communities, in Dayton it has already given citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns at public hearings. As a result, the Board has recommended policy changes for DPD that have great potential to strengthen community-police relations.
Why did you join the NCRC?
We joined NCRC to collaborate with like minded organizations dedicated to promoting equity and inclusion in their communities. We also believe in fostering dialogue and learning more about important contemporary issues and public policies that impact day-to-day life for our residents. We value the Fair Lending Report, emails/newsletters, and ability to influence business practices and national policies.
As an organization centered in the racial and social justice space, it is important that we align with national organizations committed to creating a more just and equitable world. We are committed to multi-generational change which transforms communities that have faced decades of disinvestment, and this can only be achieved when we join hands with organizations such as NCRC to accomplish this herculean work.
For instance, COVID-19 identified the gaps and fragility of experience in low-income and minority communities. While the pandemic was a tragedy of epic proportions, it also was the wake-up call that we needed to ensure communities are strengthened from the inside out. Organizations such as NCRC are committed to these issues, and we wanted to join them in transforming our communities.
Have you collaborated, or would you like to collaborate with other organizations to successfully achieve a goal?
We collaborate with a number of local organizations to achieve our goals of promoting peace, harmony, equity and inclusion throughout Dayton. We would like to continue our collaborations that have the most impact for our residents.
Please share a success story or memorable moment from your work.
In April 2022, the HRC hosted the Greater Dayton Small Business Opportunities Forum. The event was tailored to aid small, women-owned, disadvantaged, and minority business enterprises. The event was well attended with over 60 businesses present to learn about beneficial programs in the city of Dayton. Additionally, the HRC hosted the Dayton Fair Housing Symposium in September 2021. The event highlighted important housing trends and recent developments under the Fair Housing Act and landlord/tenant laws. The event attracted approximately 60 participants and will now become an annual event due to its success.
Connect with the City of Dayton Human Relations Council:
Joann Mawasha is the Deputy Director for the City of Dayton Human Relations Council.
Pictured above is HRC hosting the inaugural Fair Housing Symposium (Photo courtesy of HRC).