Jamestown Human Rights Coalition plans organizational meeting

The Jamestown Human Rights Coalition has just organized with Pam Phillips and George Barnes as two of the leaders of the organization. They plan to hold the first public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 14 at the art studio adjacent to the Jamestown Arts Center.

“We want people to know this is happening,” Phillips said.

The idea started with Barnes, who approached Phillips to help him shake things up. Along the way, the organizers received help from the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.

“We’ve only been working on this for a few months,” said Phillips, president of the organization. “We’re trying to provide a way for people who don’t feel heard to have a voice.”

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Barnes, who is vice president, said he sees a lot of hatred and prejudice in the community.

“What’s important is to inspire and teach people that we don’t have to be like this,” he said. “How to make a teaching moment for the community?”

Phillips said the organization has a roster of officers and a few members.

“We want to help the community solve problems as they arise,” she said. “We want to be a help for everyone, not just for minorities.”

Phillips said the biggest problem the community faces is intolerance.

“Our community is not very tolerant of people who are not us,” she said. “Part of this became evident with the wearing of masks during the recent pandemic. “

Another problem is that people don’t listen to each other or get too much information from rumors and social media, Phillips said.

Barnes said he has always stood up for people facing challenges.

“We want to educate the people of Stutsman County about people with disabilities,” he said. “… maybe we can change the way people treat each other.”

How they’re going to accomplish that change is still a work in progress, Phillips said.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or hinder people,” she said, “but we do believe there is a need to help people deal with these things.”

Coalition plans could include developing a panel of speakers to lead focus groups with area organizations across Stutsman County, not just Jamestown, Phillips said.

“We are excited about the possibilities,” she said. “The possibilities are endless, but we have to be focused to accomplish anything. “

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