CHR COMMISSIONERS

PghCHR COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner FAQ - Coming soon!

 

 

Interested in becoming a Commissioner? Email a resume and cover letter explaining your interest to: human.relations@pittsburghpa.gov

Tracy Baton, LSW, is an experienced clinician and community organizer who has been engaged in human rights and equity work for more than four decades. The current PghCHR chair, who is deeply embedded in Pittsburgh's communities and culture, has long advocated for human rights on national and international scales as well. She started a (National Organization for Women) NOW chapter in high school, and organized and educated toward South African divestment in college. She is a Fullbright Fellow who researched the history of women's health, gender, and caregiving in the 19th century in a Xhosa community in South Africa. She was trained in anti-racism leadership and led anti-racism workshops and helped develop a workshop on internalized racist oppression for the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She is from Pittsburgh’s Hill District and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Florida where she studied Medical Anthropology, and African History and specialized in race class and gender. She also has an MSW in Social Work focusing on both community organizing and direct practice. With her demonstrated history of clinical work, community building, and event planning, Commissioner Baton advises the Commission and its staff on more than one level.  In recent years, beyond working as a lead clinician in the community with LGBTQIA+ youth and several other projects, Commissioner Baton has been supported Human and Civil rights in Pittsburgh for through her work as the director of the Women's March on Washington - Pittsburgh, which has led 100,000 people into the street of Pittsburgh in peaceful social protest in dozens of actions focused on issues related to women’s lives. She is also a mom, grandmother, and avid urban gardener.

 

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Alberto Benzaquen is a dedicated Pittsburgher who has been working in our communities since 2012.  A financial professional with a MBA in International Business and public relations expert , Commissioner Benzaquen is originally from Venezuela and relocated to USA in 2000.  Since that time, he has been developing and improving our community through work with several organizations including the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, Hola Pittsburgh Initiative with Vibrant Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Promise, Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and I Believe in Pittsburgh, LLC. In 2013, the City of Pittsburgh gave Benzaquen a Citizen Service Award for his “continued commitment to promoting diversity and economic development in Pittsburgh.” 

The Rev. Liddy Barlow is a creative and passionate servant of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in all its complicated diversity. She works to bring Christians of all traditions together to make visible our true unity as the Body of Christ.

 In April 2014, Rev. Barlow became the first woman to be installed as Executive Minister of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. She reports to the Council of Bishops and Judicatory Executives, who represent 28 Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox church bodies throughout greater Pittsburgh. As Executive Minister, Rev. Barlow sets a vision for Christian Associates and manages all of the organization's projects and relationships.

​​Under her leadership, Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania has made unanimous public statements on ending racism and welcoming refugees. She is a key organizer of public worship services and events, including interfaith services in support of immigrants, mourning lives lost at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, SC, and standing against bigotry after the demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA. Rev. Barlow edits Christian Associates’ publications, including The Call newsletter, The Word in Our Voices series of sermon collections, and worship resources produced in partnership with community organizations.

​In the aftermath of the anti-Semitic massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018, Rev. Barlow offered a clear voice of compassion and hope, representing the Christian community at numerous interfaith and civic events. With partners of many faith traditions, notably the Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement at the Jewish Community Center, she convened interfaith spiritual leaders from 9 world religions and 24 Christian denominations for the "We Have to Talk" initiative, which continues to promote collegiality and healing.

 Through Christian Associates' ministry of connectedness, Rev. Barlow holds a variety of leadership roles in local organizations, serving as vice president of the City of Pittsburgh's Commission on Human Relations, chair of the Allegheny County Emergency Food & Shelter Board, steering team member for All for All, and board member for the Foundation of HOPE. She formerly served as secretary of the Western PA Regional VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) and as a board member at Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute. She has been active in the International Association of Women Ministers for over a decade, and served as Program Chair for the 2019 Centennial Assembly. In 2015, she traveled to Israel and Palestine in the inaugural journey of Interfaith Partners for Peace.

 Rev. Barlow frequently preaches and speaks at churches and community organizations throughout our region. Her publications include columns in The Christian Century and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; one of her sermons was featured in a Sojourners project.

​On June 24, 2019, Rev. Barlow received an Antoinette Brown Award for trailblazing leadership in the United Church of Christ. She was recognized as "40 Under 40" leader by Pittsburgh Magazine. She received a Circle of Courage award from BCC Ministries, a Dialogue Award from the Turkish Cultural Center, and the Volunteer Mitzvah Award from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

​Rev. Barlow is ordained in the United Church of Christ and serves as secretary of the Penn West Conference Board of Directors. She served for six years as chair of the Pittsburgh Association Committee on Ministry, and was a member of the Habakkuk Group, a national United Church of Christ task force that rewrote the church's Manual on Ministry.

 Rev. Barlow grew up in Keene, New Hampshire and attended Mount Holyoke College. After teaching sixth grade in Rocky Mount, North Carolina with the Teach for America program, she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. Prior to her ministry at Christian Associates, Rev. Barlow served congregations in downtown Pittsburgh and North Huntingdon. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Gregory, a robotics entrepreneur, and their two young children.

 Rev. Barlow welcomes invitations to preach, teach, and speak about the ministries of Christian Associates. 

 

Biography coming soon!

Wasiullah (Wasi) Mohamed is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. He was born in Harrisburg, raised in Enola, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
 
After serving as the Director of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Food Pantry for two years, Wasi was selected to be ICP’s Executive Director in 2015. In this position, Wasi worked to empower, educate, and unite the diverse community in Western PA through social services and outreach programs. From 2016 to 2018, Wasi was the Executive Director of Emgage PA, where he coordinated political education and organizing activities throughout the commonwealth. Wasi currently is the Pittsburgh Director of Community Entrepreneurship at Forward Cities, national capacity-building and learning network working within and between cities and micropolitans to create more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem development. Wasi will be working with FC the next two years to make Pittsburgh a place that will no longer leave minority entrepreneurs under-resourced, under-connected, and under-represented.  


In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Bill Peduto to the Commission on Human Relations (protecting civil rights) and Welcoming Pittsburgh Commission (encouraging immigrant and refugee inclusion), he was elected chair of both. He was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to serve on the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and he has recently been appointed chair. Also in 2018, Wasi was elected to the ACLU Pennsylvania State Board of Directors. 

Academics:
BS in Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh '17
BA in Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh '17
BA in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh '17
Masters in Public Management, Carnegie Mellon University '21

Bio coming soon!

Will Tolliver Jr. is a Pittsburgh based leader, innovator, and change-maker recognized throughout the education community as an Early Learning Expert. Will holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Anthropology and Community and Justice Studies from Allegheny College. The environment, communities, and our future leaders inspire him to ignite new perspectives around the globe. Will has contributed to various projects and lent his skills to grant writing, project implementation and management, curriculum development, event planning, tutoring and mentoring, and incubating new innovations. He has worked with organizations like PBS, Pixar, and PA Department of Education to move the mission forward for children. Will’s goal is to share his passion for the environment, education, and social justice with everyone he encounters and to share stories of those who have been denied a voice.

Will is also an associate professor at Allegheny College, and was selected as Who’s Next: Education by The Incline. In 2018, Will was recognized as an Early Learning Champion by PBS Kids. In 2020, Will accepted an appointment as a Commissioner for the City of Pittsburgh’s Commission on Human Relations.

Personally, Will enjoys international travel, hiking with his dog, art and culture, trying new foods and consignment shopping.

Will has been dedicated to the field of education throughout his professional career, and plans to continue to develop his understanding, methodology, and practice in all his future endeavors.

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