HRC Wants to Let Friendly City Know ‘We Are Here’

Members of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission want to lower signs of false perception and raise those that promote awareness.

The group met Tuesday to review unfinished business and develop strategies for increasing community awareness of the commission. During discussion, Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner, HRC chairwoman, said just because the phones aren’t ringing doesn’t mean discrimination isn’t happening.

“There is a perception that we’re gone,” Chottiner said.

Commission members Chuck Hood, George Blum, the Rev. Ralph Dunkin, Pastor Don Marsh and Steve Novotney were also in attendance. Diana Bell, Shawn Fluharty and Ron Scott Jr., also members, were absent from the meeting.

While planning for Fair Housing Month activities in April, Hood highlighted the value of using available funds wisely for advertising.

“Let the citizens of Wheeling know that we are here,” said Hood while suggesting South Wheeling, Wheeling Island and Warwood as locations for billboards due to the areas’ rental markets.

In addition to billboards, the HRC will look into pursuing other media avenues, including contacting the Ohio Valley Regional Transit Authority about the possibility of advertising in buses that run throughout Wheeling.

Wheeling YWCA representative Rita Gupta extended an invitation to the commission to participate in the Upper Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival on June 29 with the promise that it is “a great way to increase visibility.” After Gupta named various opportunities, HRC members came to a consensus about hosting a table at the festival. They also reviewed other sponsorship options for the event. Local citizen Frank Calabrese offered to donate $300 towards a banner for the HRC’s table.

The commission Tuesday also reviewed a Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services contract, decided that landlord tenant handbooks need updating and weighed possible options for commissioner training.

The Wheeling Human Rights Commission will next meet at noon April 8.