Human Rights Commission



Ramona BurtonChairperson
Haydee Carrasquillo
John DavisCommissioner
Laura Garcia
Lesly GarciaCommissioner
Karen MejiaCommissioner
Malinda Ware


On January 14, 1991, the City Council of Newburgh established the Human Rights Commission (HRC) pursuant to the authority contained by Ordinance Number 3-91. On October 6, 2005, the New York State Human Rights Law was expanded to become the only human rights law in New York State to prohibit discrimination in both employment and housing against victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking. On June 4, 2007, the law was further expanded to provide for monetary damages in cases where there is a pattern and practice of discrimination; the award of punitive damages in all cases where the discrimination has been willful or wanton or malicious; and the assessment of civil fines and penalties in housing cases. To protect the rights and privileges of all its inhabitants, the Newburgh City Council passed the Human Rights Law. On December 12, 2012, by Ordinance Number March 11, 2012, it was amended in its entirety. A Commission on Human Rights was established pursuant to the authority contained in Article 12-D of the General Municipal Law. This law encompasses discrimination based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, creed, age, familial status, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, and disability, in the practices of employment, in places of public accommodation, housing, and the approval of credit.

For more information visit the New York State Human Rights Law website

General Objectives

  • To foster mutual respect and understanding among all racial, religious, and nationality groups in the community.
  • To make such studies in any field of human relationship in the community as in its judgment will aid in effectuating its general purpose.
  • To inquire into incidents of tension and conflict among or between various racial, religious and nationality groups and to take such action as may be designed to alleviate such tension and conflict.
  • To conduct and recommend such educational programs, as, in its judgment, will increase good will among inhabitants of the City and open any opportunities into all phases of City life for all inhabitants.
  • To report complaints to the Division of Human Rights alleging unlawful discriminatory practices under Article 15 of the Executive Law.
  • To receive, accept, use and expend public grants and private gifts, donations or bequests and other payments, goods and services, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

General Obligations

  • To receive complaints of alleged discrimination because of age, sex, disability, marital status, race, creed, color, or national origin: seek the active assistance of the State Division of Human Rights in the solution of complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Division, and prepare its own plans in the case of other complaints with a view to reducing and eliminating such alleged discrimination through the process of the conference, conciliation, and persuasion.
  • To hold conferences and other public meetings in the interest of the constructive resolution of racial, religious, and nationality group tensions and the prejudice and discrimination occasioned thereby.
  • To issue such publications and reports of investigation as in its judgment will tend to effectuate the purposes of Article 12-D of the General Municipal Law.
  • To enlist the cooperation and participation of the various racial, religious, and nationality groups, community organizations, industry and labor organizations, media or mass communication, fraternal or benevolent associations, and other groups in an educational campaign devoted to fostering among the diverse groups of the community mutual esteem, justice, and equity.
  • To encourage and stimulate agencies under the jurisdiction of the City Council to take such action as will fulfill the purposes of Article 12-D of the General Municipal Law.
  • To submit an annual report to the City Council.

The City of Newburgh Human Rights Commission does not have the legal power to investigate complaints, conciliate or mediate cases. This Commission does not operate out of an office.