Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations

 

President’s Report

2003-2004

 


Dr. Richard Haymaker, President

Ms. Marjorie Green, Vice President

Dr. Joyce Robinsion, Secretary

Dr. Daniel Yannitell, Treasurer

Rev. Philip Woodland, Immediate Past      President

 

Mrs. Hallique Dawson, Bd. 2004

Dr. Margaret Pereboom, Bd. 2004

Mrs. Evelyn Albert, Bd. 2004

 

Prof. Mercedese Broussard, Asst. Secretary & Bd. 2004

Mr Leslie Burris. Bd. 2005

Dr. James Cross, Bd. 2005

Mrs. Dorothy Newman,  Bd. 2005

Dr. Rogers Newman, Bd. 2005

Mrs. Joyce Robinson, Bd. 2006

Ms. Patrice Niquille, Bd. 2006

Dr. Jehad Mahmoud, Bd. 2006

Mr. Tom Clemons, Bd. 2006


 

In memory of Dorothy Newman who was a member of the board

at the time of her death in January 2004

 

This year the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations has continued its long tradition of advocating for action on progressive issues that can improve the lives of all people in our community, our state and our country.

 

Note that we now have a website brchr.org.   It is current and will be updated regularly.  This report will be posted and one can find much supporting information about the Council there.

 

Annual Events

 

The program committee this year included Jehad Mahmoud, Rogers Newman, Patrice Niquille, Doug Leyda, Phil Woodland,  Holley Galland Haymaker, Margaret Pereboom, Marjorie  Green, Richard Haymaker(ex officio and, convener).

 

Fall:  Our efforts in the fall were a follow up of two suggestions paraphrased from the 2003 President’s report. 

 

(1)               We need to approach each of our labor intensive initiatives to be sure we are getting our message out most effectively.  One way is through collaborations with other organizations in the planning process. 

 

(2)               We plan to arrange a meeting of representatives of the YWCA, and and the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues.  We have  much in common in our missions and each of us have our special strengths.  This is one route to possibly increasing the effectiveness of our efforts.

 

Marjorie Green,  Phil Woodland, Doug Leyda, Robbie Madden and Richard Haymaker met and discussed how to build a better infrastructure for collaborations.  During the fall the program committee then worked on a plan to build a coalition.  We met with representatives of the YWCA, WIN, GBRFCS, and Bienville House in December and honed the idea.  We decided that the central organizing tool would be an informational  website.  We are happy to say that information on the initiative in now posted on our new web site, brchr.org. In the coming fall we plan to expand the coalition, drawing on this resource in planning a fall forum.

 

Spring Rally:  On Tuesday,  April 20,  the Baton Rouge Council cosponsored a rally on the Capitol steps:  “Stand up for Children” in which Governor Blanco spoke.    With Phil Woodland taking the lead, we proposed last December that we time our spring forum to coincide with the legislative session with the theme: funding for children’s issues.   The Council joined the Children’s Coalition and teamed up with them to organize the event.   Seventy organizations joined as partners,  the Council listed as number two after the Children’s Coalition.   The Council was one of eight organizations listed a financial sponsors.  Given the right idea at the right time, the forum became a rally in which 100’s of people attended.   Governor Blanco was fully supportive of our message.    See our brchr.org web site for a link to the Advocate story about the event.

 

 

Powell Reznikoff Humanitarian Awards Dinner, March 11:    The Humanitarian Award Committee members were Mercedes Broussard, Leslie Burris, Tom Clemons, Marjorie Green,Co-chair  and Hallique Dawson, Chair.  The awards this year went to Rev. Charles T. Smith and Thomas and Kathy Gess.    Father Michael Saah-Buckman from the St. Francis Xavier Parish was  the speaker.   The Smith-Brown Memorial Look Dancers of Southern University provided entertainment.  And there were voice solos by Charlene Jones and Corey Hill of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church.   Dorothy Crockett arranged the very fine meeting room at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield center.   A special thanks for this successful occasion in the life of the Council celebrating  the people in the community that serve as role models to all of us. 

 

Annual Meeting (June 12, 2003).  The Annual Meeting committee members were Margaret Pereboom, Richard Haymaker, Dorothy Newman, Dan Yannitell and James Cross, Chair.  There was discussion about events of the past year and suggestions for future initiatives.

 

 

Istrouma High Awards:   Jehad Mahmoud, Thomas Clemons and Joyce Robinson, chair served on the Istrouma High Awards committee.  Awards of $50 each went to Pamela Hughes for Academics, to Amber Walker for Attendance, and to Joy Foster for Most Improved.    These students were very gracious in receiving these checks and knew that someone had paid attention to the different behaviors and levels that they had reached by the time they were seniors.



Other Initiatives and Events

 

Membership Meeting with Annette Bookter, director of Human Resources for the City/Parish:   On February 19, we held a general membership meeting .  Dr. Bookter presented her vision for enhancing diversity in city parish government.  As described in the first quarter newsletter which is posted on our website brchr.org.

 

Abraham’s Salon:   The first Baton Rouge "Abraham's Salon" was sponsored by the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations and the Greater BR Federation of Church's and Synagogues.  The group of Jews, Christians (Protestant and Catholic) and Muslims met on four Sunday afternoon, every other week during April and May.  The group focused on the book by Bruce Feiler "Abraham, Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths."  The group met at churches, mosques, and synagogues.  Nearly fifty people participated.  We learned from each other.  Bridges of trust and understanding were built.  Plans are to start one or more Abraham Salons in the fall, and continue on monthly basis the group that met this spring.

 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by playwright August Wilson:  We publicized reduced ticket prices were available for two performances at the Swine Palace Theater at LSU. 

 

 

Forum “What Price Peace, What Price War”  The Council was a co-sponsor of this

Event at the Cox Communications Center at LSU on 22 October 2003.

 

YWCA Dialogue on Race:  Richard Haymaker  participated once a week in a six week program to help people better understand how to achieve  better race relations.  The Council has helped publicize the program.

 

 

YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast, May 2:   The Council was a co-sponsor of this annual event and Richard Haymaker participated by introducing the speaker.  The awards went to Bill Dickerson.

 

Dr. Rama Mohanty: gave a presentation to the board of his initiative to foster peace in the world.   He called ou attention to World Peace Day on October 1, 2004

 

Children’s Coalition:  The Council is now a member of the Children’s Coalition of Greater Baton Rouge with a reduced membership fee negotiated by Phil Woodland.

 

Hate Group:  The council responded to a citizen call of concern about a neo-naze hate group attempting to gain a foothold in our community by distributing flyers to many homes in our city.

In Appreciation

 

I wish to thank the many officers and board members who have been mentors to me.   The large number of names in italics in this report indicate the breath of commitment in the Council.   On behalf of the Council I wish to express our gratitude to all of you and for other contributions including:

 

Joyce Robinson  and Mercedese Broussard for taking careful minutes of all meetings,

 

Dan Yannitell for keeping records of our funds and transferring funds to a bank that charges no service fee.

 

Dorothy Newman and Rogers Newman for serving as co-chair of the membership committee,

 

Leslie and Shirley Burris for maintaining the membership list and supplying labels,

 

Mercedese Broussard   chaired the Nominating Committee, which also included Joyce Robinson, Dan Yannitell, Huel Perkins and Elmo Zufall,

 

Joe McCarty and Paul Burns for putting out the newsletter,

 

Jehad Mahmoud for helping to create a web site,

 

The Louisiana. School for the Visually Impaired students under Marjorie Green’s direction for the many hours of preparing the mailings to the membership

 

and Marjorie Green has always prepared refreshments for our events, getting help from many others.

 

 

 

Our Future Efforts

 

In the coming year we are ready to build on the efforts to enhance communications among all organizations in the area that work on racial justice.  The efforts that brought together seventy organizations to stage a rally on the Capitol steps in April showed the power of collaboration.

 

It is an honor to be part of the work of the Council

 

 

 

Richard Haymaker

June 19, 2004