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CHR COMMISSION

About CHR

The Commission on Human Relations is a law enforcement agency which derives its authority from the City Fair Practices Provisions found in Article V, Chapters 651 through 659 of the Pittsburgh City Code.  


These provisions make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of

  • race
  • color
  • religion 
  • familial status (housing only) 
  • age (over 40)
  • ancestry 
  • national origin 
  • place of birth
  • sex 
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity or expression
  • handicap or disability
  • retaliation
  • status as a survivor of domestic violence (housing only)

Powers & Duties

The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (CHR) investigates complaints of alleged discrimination in employmenthousing, and public accommodations within the City of Pittsburgh.  CHR is tasked with investigating civil rights violations and any conditions having an adverse effect on intergroup relations in the city.  In addition, CHR conducts community education and other outreach programs for schools, community groups, businesses, professional organizations and City departments in order to promote equal rights and opportunities for all who work, live or visit our city.  For over 50 years, CHR has successfully resolved issues of unfair and discriminatory practices faced by Pittsburgh residents.

Commission representatives and Commissioners work hard to resolve any discrimination complaints that come before the Commission.  The 15 persons who are members of the Commission on Human Relations serve without pay and are appointed to four-year terms of office by the Mayor.

The Commission on Human Relations employs a director and staff.  In addition to reviewing the findings of staff, the Commission may hold public hearings, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, require the production of evidence, make findings of fact, issue orders and publish such findings of fact and orders.

The Commission is divided into two sections: the Public Hearing and Compliance Review Section. Commissioners are appointed to sections by the Chairperson and no Commissioner may serve concurrently in both Sections.

  • The Compliance Review Section reviews case determinations by CHR staff with regard to whether probable causes exists for an unlawful discriminatory practice complaint and approve or disapprove findings by majority vote.
  • The Public Hearing Section conducts public hearings upon majority vote of the Compliance Review Section, and renders the Commission’s final decisions regarding cases.

When probable cause is found that someone has been unlawfully discriminated against, the Commission has the authority to collect depositions from the both complainant and the faulty party in order to work toward a satisfactory resolution.  When such agreements cannot be made, the Commission may seek legal enforcement of its decisions.

If there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a finding of probable cause, the case will be closed.  Under the Pittsburgh City Code, Chapter 655.04, and Rule 13 of the Commission's Rules and Regulations, either party may request reconsideration of the Commission's determination.  To do so, a party must notify the Commission in writing within ten (10) days of receipt of the letter notifying the party that the case has been closed.

 

Rules and Regulations

View CHR's Rules and Regulations. 

There are many sections of the Pittsburgh City Code which pertain specifically to Fair Practice.  To read these sections, go to our online version of the Pittsburgh City Code, located at Municode.com.

Tips for using the HTML version of the code:

1.     On the Municode.com website, click on the link for Pittsburgh, PA Code of Ordinances

2.     In the left-side navigation bar, double-click on the folder icon before Title VI: Conduct.

3.     Next, double-click on the small folder before Article V: Discrimination.

4.     Then, double-click on the small folder before the chapter that you would like to read.

5.     Finally, double-click on the small page graphic before the chapter section that you would like to read.

CHR Goals

  • Reduce compliance case processing time.
  • Enhance intergroup and community relations by increasing the number of educational and outreach programs.
  • Increase compliance by employers, housing and service providers with civil rights laws and reduce incidents of community tensions.
  • Promote greater awareness and appreciation for the cultural diversity of the City.

Curtis Smith was first appointed to the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations by Mayor Tom Murphy in 1995.

Commissioner Smith, a graduate of the Allegheny County Police Academy, is a state-certified policeman, a police officer for the Department of Public Safety at the University of Pittsburgh, and a self-defense instructor. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Social Sciences, Commissioner Smith devoted his energies to the martial arts. Commissioner Smith holds a master rank in Jujitsu, Shotokan, Kwanmuzendokai Karate, and the Hong Kong Athletic Association Global Martial Arts. He has trained over 6,000 individuals in the police & security field and thousands in the martial arts.

Commissioner Smith is the author of The BYAM Method of Self-Defense, which teaches his philosophy and methods of defense and training, and owns his own company, Universal Professional Training, which offers karate lessons for underprivileged youth and teens. He is a national police instructor of impact weapons for the Security and Law Enforcement Training Department under the United States Veterans Administration Medical Center, a chemical instructor under the Mace Security International Law Enforcement Division, and a tactical instructor for BTLS.

Commissioner Smith received the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in 2005. His BYAM (Buy Yourself a Minute) Self-Defense Program was featured in the US News and World Report’s 2009 America’s Best Colleges Edition. Commissioner Smith has also been voted “Best Cop” or the runner up every year since 2004 in The Pitt News’ annual “Best Of… Edition.” Commissioner Smith also participates in the Kinder Kinetics and Saturday’s Kids programs at the University of Pittsburgh, is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and is a police instructor at the Criminal Justice Training Center of Pennsylvania.

Eric Horwith was first appointed to serve on the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations in July 2010 by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Commissioner Horwith was reappointed to the Commission by Mayor William Peduto in November 2014. Commissioner Horwith served as the Commission’s liaison to the Mayor’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Advisory Council.

Commissioner Horwith is the Director of Growth and Business Development at the non-profit Family Hospice and Palliative Care, the leading provider of end-of-life services in the City of Pittsburgh. Commissioner Horwith has worked since 1997 to improve quality and access to individualized and holistic end-of-life and after-life care in Allegheny County.

A licensed social worker and longtime Pittsburgh resident, Commissioner Horwith earned an undergraduate degree at Duquesne University and a Master’s in Social Work degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

Commissioner Horwith serves on the Board of Directors for the Mount Washington Community Development Center, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of Social Workers for Aging Practices. Commissioner Horwith is also a member of the Coalition for Quality End-of-Life Care (CQEC), a network of health providers and quality of care advocates who work to improve care to the seriously ill and their families in the City of Pittsburgh.

Gabriel McMorland was appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in April 2016 by Mayor William Peduto. Commissioner McMorland also serves on the City-County Task Force on Disabilities.

Commissioner McMorland works as the New Economy Campaign Organizer at the Thomas Merton Center. Additionally, he coordinates monthly events about accessible design with the Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup. Commissioner McMorland previously served as Project Manager with Jackson/Clark Partners on extensive surveys of community needs including the Greater Hazelwood Community Census, the One Northside project, and the redevelopment of Allegheny Dwellings housing project. He has provided professional accessibility consulting to both the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

After losing much of his vision at age nineteen, Commissioner McMorland went on to complete both the Urban Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.

Gwendolyn Young was appointed to serve on the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations by Mayor William Peduto in April 2015.

Commissioner Young has worked actively in the field of education, focusing on Administration, Curriculum Development and Community Development. As the former Principal and President of Holy Rosary School in Homewood, Commissioner Young served on the transition committee for the Holy Rosary and St. James School merger, which formed the Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy in Wilkinsburg. Commissioner Young is a member of the administrative staff of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies Summer Theology Program.

Commissioner Young earned her undergraduate degree in Education from Dillard University. She received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Commissioner Young's philosophy is predicated on a moral and ethical responsibility to make a difference in the lives of children by providing an academic environment respectful of children’s diverse learning styles and rooted in the celebration of Black history, culture and spirituality. A believer that strong families make strong communities, Commissioner Young serves on a number of boards which focus on education, parent-child relationships, and community enhancement. She is a member of the NAACP Pittsburgh Chapter and the Diocesan National Black Catholic Congress Team, a pastoral organization dedicated to improving the spiritual, mental, and physical conditions of African-Americans. Commissioner Young also serves on the boards of Simply Breathing, which brings the art of meditation to school-age children, and Softer Side Seminars, which focuses on encouraging self-esteem, entrepreneurial spirit, and self-expression in women and girls.

Helen Gerhardt was appointed to serve on the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission by Mayor William Peduto in November 2014.

Commissioner Gerhardt currently works to address food access equity in Allegheny County as Project Coordinator for Just Harvest's Fresh Corners initiative. Commissioner Gerhardt completed her Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh while working as Communications Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and as an anti-torture organizer for the American Friends Service Committee. Commissioner Gerhardt has also worked as Community Organizer for both Action United and Pittsburghers for Public Transit, and still actively volunteers with these organizations.

A veteran of the Iraq War, Commissioner Gerhardt traveled throughout Iraq with the Missouri Army National Guard 1221st Transportation Company from 2003 to 2004, hearing the experiences of Iraqi men, women and children, as well as the stories of coalition soldiers from across the world who served in military camps from Mosul to Basra to Abu Ghraib. Her nonfiction narratives of the devastating impact of dehumanization, racism and Islamophobia and her own experience as a bisexual woman serving under the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy have been featured in the New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, broadcast on National Public Radio, and collected in the National Endowment of the Arts anthology, Operation Homecoming. Commissioner Gerhardt has featured local voices in recorded conversations at her blog, “Buses Are Bridges,” traveling by bus throughout the diverse neighborhoods of Pittsburgh to record our neighbors' experiences, concerns, and struggles for human dignity and equal rights.

Dr. Lee Fogarty was first appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in June 2007 by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Commissioner Fogarty was reappointed to the Commission by Mayor Ravenstahl in April 2012 and by Mayor William Peduto in April 2015.

Commissioner Fogarty is a licensed psychologist and an executive coach and consultant. Throughout her career, she has worked with corporate and nonprofit executive officers to empower women, resolve workplace issues, and manage conflict.

Commissioner Fogarty partners with numerous organizations advocating for gender equality and female empowerment in Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Executive Women’s Council of Greater Pittsburgh and the Zonta Club of Pittsburgh, a branch of the global women’s rights organization Zonta International. Commissioner Fogarty has volunteered at the Center for Victims of Violent Crime and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Commissioner Fogarty serves on the steering committee of Pittsburgh for CEDAW (Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), a grassroots organization advocating for gender equality in Pittsburgh.

Lorraine Eberhardt, Ed.D. was first appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in July 2010 by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Commissioner Eberhardt was reappointed to the Commission by Mayor Ravenstahl in February 2013.

Commissioner Eberhardt worked as an education administrator in the Pittsburgh region for over 30 years. She served Pittsburgh Public Schools as an elementary teacher, as an emotional support teacher to middle school students, and later as an elementary principal. Commissioner Eberhardt has developed and implemented curricula in the arts and humanities, provided professional development programs for students and teachers, and effectively trained and implemented behavior management and instructional support systems for school administrators and teachers district-wide.

Commissioner Eberhardt earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education at Cheyney University. She received a Principal Certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialty in Language Communication and a concentration in Reading from the University of Pittsburgh. Commissioner Eberhardt earned a Doctor of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Her expertise and experience in the field of education provides the Commission with insight into youth academic development needs and educational services.

Commissioner Eberhardt is an active member of her community and serves on a variety of educational boards and committees, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the International Reading Association, and the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. She also serves on the Northside Old Timers Association’s Board of Directors.

Lynette Drawn-Williamson was first appointed to the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations in May 2005 by Mayor Tom Murphy. Commissioner Drawn-Williamson was reappointed to the Commission by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in July 2009 and March 2013.

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson currently works as the Site Director for the East Liberty Family Support Center. Previously, Commissioner Drawn-Williamson worked at the Ozanam Cultural Center, providing educational, recreational and social after-school activities for inner city youth, and as Deputy Director, Supervisor, and Training Manager at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center. Commissioner Drawn Williamson’s experience in human services, particularly her activism for children and family welfare, provides the Commission with valuable knowledge of the needs and rights of youth in the Pittsburgh region.

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson earned her undergraduate degree at Duquesne University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She received a Master’s of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) degree at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson is an active member of her church and community. She serves as Vice President of the Kiwanis Club of East Liberty, as a Board Member of the Marilyn G. Rabb (MRG) Foundation and Heinz Endowments, and as a member of the Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs of Pennsylvania (JDCAP). Additionally, Commissioner Drawn-Williamson works as an instructor for Strength-Based Family Workers (SFW), a trainer and advisor for Family Development Credential (FDC), and a Child Welfare Trainer for the University of Pittsburgh. Commissioner Drawn-Williamson is a Deacon and Chairperson of the St. Paul Baptist Church Youth Ministry.

Marian Lien, Executive Director of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, was appointed to the Commission on May 2, 2017. For over 20 years, her interests and desires to create a more socially just society has led her down a professional path creating safer environments for patients in rural health care; teaching diversity in higher-ed; and building a more sustainable community. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy Management from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and strives to understand how people’s lives can be enhanced through public and governmental systems.

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson currently works as the Site Director for the East Liberty Family Support Center. Previously, Commissioner Drawn-Williamson worked at the Ozanam Cultural Center, providing educational, recreational and social after-school activities for inner city youth, and as Deputy Director, Supervisor, and Training Manager at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center. Commissioner Drawn Williamson’s experience in human services, particularly her activism for children and family welfare, provides the Commission with valuable knowledge of the needs and rights of youth in the Pittsburgh region.

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson earned her undergraduate degree at Duquesne University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She received a Master’s of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) degree at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).

Commissioner Drawn-Williamson is an active member of her church and community. She serves as Vice President of the Kiwanis Club of East Liberty, as a Board Member of the Marilyn G. Rabb (MRG) Foundation and Heinz Endowments, and as a member of the Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs of Pennsylvania (JDCAP). Additionally, Commissioner Drawn-Williamson works as an instructor for Strength-Based Family Workers (SFW), a trainer and advisor for Family Development Credential (FDC), and a Child Welfare Trainer for the University of Pittsburgh. Commissioner Drawn-Williamson is a Deacon and Chairperson of the St. Paul Baptist Church Youth Ministry.

Mariana Padias was appointed to the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations by Mayor William Peduto in November 2014.

Commissioner Padias serves as Assistant General Counsel for the United Steelworkers International Union, where her legal practice includes federal labor law, contract enforcement, negotiations, education, and some international human rights work, as well as some defense litigation. Before becoming a lawyer, Mariana worked with undocumented immigrants and on union organizing campaigns.

Commissioner Padias earned her law degree and Master’s in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, writing her thesis on organizing undocumented workers. She received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Creative Writing from Oberlin College. Commissioner Padias is a member of the AFL-CIO’s Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and the American Bar Association. She is originally from Tucson, Arizona, and is fluent in Spanish.

Rabbi Sharyn Henry was appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in April 2016 by Mayor William Peduto.

Commissioner Henry joined the staff of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside in 1999. She has served as Religious School Principal, Youth, Education, and Activities Director, Associate Rabbi, and Rabbi. As Rabbi, Commissioner Henry seeks to create new prayer initiatives and establish an environmentally-friendly section of the Congregation’s cemetery. Previously, Commissioner Henry held the positions of Rabbi/Educator at Temple Ohav Shalom in Allison Park, PA and Assistant Rabbi at The Temple—Congregation B’nai Jedudah in Kansas City, MO, where she was Kansas City’s first full-time female rabbi. Throughout her career, Commissioner Henry has focused on social action, inclusion, and worship.

Commissioner Henry earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she graduated with honors in Psychology. She received her Rabbinic Ordination with a Master’s in Hebrew Letters (MAHL) from the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. In 2013, Commissioner Henry was presented with an honorary doctorate by HUC-JIR for her 25 years of outstanding teaching of Reform Judaism’s faith, culture, and ethics.

After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Commissioner Henry traveled to Haiti and taught women how to knit, helping them to heal and recover from the earthquake’s stresses and aftermath. She inspired several of the women to start their own businesses that sell knitted items and help provide for their families.

Commissioner Henry was recognized by Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) with a Humanitarian Award for her advocacy of equality and inclusion. She is a member of the Community Day School’s Board of Trustees.

Richard L. Morris was appointed to the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations in November 2014 by Mayor William Peduto.

Commissioner Morris currently works as the Director of Housing for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, where he is responsible for the Rental Assistance, Homeownership, Hunger Services, and Mortgage Foreclosure programs. Commissioner Morris previously held the position of Director of Resident Self-Sufficiency at the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and was the principal consultant at R. Morris and Associates, a firm specializing in youth, workforce, and self-sufficiency programs. During his career, Commissioner Morris has held senior management positions with Pittsburgh Job Corps, worked in the Department of Corrections, and counseled addicted persons and youth with behavior issues.

Commissioner Morris earned a Master of Community Management degree from Antioch University. He actively volunteers with numerous community organizations.

Robert Samuel was appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in April 2016 by Mayor William Peduto.

Commissioner Samuel has worked as an information technology consultant and sales professional for over twenty years. He currently works as a Business Development Executive at Renoir Consulting. Commissioner Samuel’s distinguished career includes positions at Comcast Cable, MCI Screen, Schering Corporation, Xerox, and IBM.

Commissioner Samuel earned a degree in Business & Commerce from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981. Commissioner Samuel also holds a Certificate in Health Information Technology from the Community College of Allegheny County.

A resident of Observatory Hill on the North Side, Commissioner Samuel has volunteered for organizations such as Head Start, North Shore Stations Organization, Urban Impact, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Commissioner Samuel is very passionate about city living and the vast amount of activities Pittsburgh has to offer.

Commissioner Wasiullah Mohamed was appointed to serve on the Commission on Human Relations in April 2016 by Mayor William Peduto.

Commissioner Mohamed currently serves as Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Commissioner Mohamed also serves as Director of Community Relations for Nourish International. Previously, Commissioner Mohamed worked as a Labor Rights Advocate with Americans for an Informed Democracy, a non-profit, non-partisan political advocacy organization.

Commissioner Mohamed earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed majors in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and History and Philosophy of Science. At the University of Pittsburgh, Commissioner Mohamed served as Registration Chair for Pitt Make a Difference Day, Resident Assistant for the Office of Residence Life, and as Executive Board President of the Resident Student Association. In Spring 2012, Commissioner Mohamed founded the Office of Pitt Serves within the Division of Student Affairs. Commissioner Mohamed served as Executive Director of the Student Civic Engagement Council to help lead the Office of Pitt Serves during his time at the University of Pittsburgh.

Commissioner Mohamed has volunteered at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Pittsburgh and the Holy Spirit Hospital in Harrisburg, PA. As Service Chair of Beta Theta Pi, his collegiate fraternity, Commissioner Mohamed coordinated service projects with the Hazelwood YMCA, created four urban gardens in Hazelwood, and directed a tutoring program for Hazelwood students.

Winford R. Craig was first appointed to the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations in June 2007 by Mayor Tom Murphy. Commissioner Craig was reappointed to the Commission by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in April 2012 and by Mayor William Peduto in April 2015. Commissioner Craig serves as the Chair of the Commission.

Commissioner Craig works as the Director of Information Technology and Director of STEM Programs at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. He has taught entrepreneurship and computer science at Robert Morris University and the Community College of Allegheny County, respectively.

Commissioner Craig earned his undergraduate degree at St. Vincent College. In 2012, Commissioner Craig received a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Commissioner Craig is currently a graduate student at Waynesburg University, where he seeks to earn a Master’s of Business Administration, and Walden University, where he works towards a doctoral degree in Public Policy and Administration.

Commissioner Craig is very active in the community, serving as a member of the Wilkinsburg School District Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Board of Education Curriculum Development Committee, the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School Board of Directors, the Allegheny County Regional Assets District (ARAD), and Western Pennsylvania’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Board. Commissioner Craig also serves as Chairperson of Wilkinsburg Weed and Seed.