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Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights

Barrie Gewanter
Executive Director

Bridget Owens
Human Rights Specialist

John H. Mulroy Civic Center,
Suite 19 - Basement Level
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

(315) 435-3565


Free Call from Inmates at Jail or Jamesville: (315) 435-3567 


About Us

Human Rights Commission

HR Logo

26 Commissioners to be confirmed by vote of the Onondga County Legislature to serve staggered three-year terms. (18 appointed by the County Executive, subject to Legislator approval with 6 of those based on Legislator recommendation, plus 6 appointed by the Mayor of Syracuse)


On June 7, 2016 the appointment of the first 12 Human Rights Commissioners was confirmed by the Onondaga County Legislature.  The appointment of an additional 4 Commissioners is expected to be confirmed at the July 5th session of the Legislature. 


These initial 16 Commissioners are as follows:

  • Reverend H. Bernard Alex      
  • Bruce Carter
  • Shui-Kai Chin, Chair
  • Crystal M. Doody, Esq.
  • Rabbi Daniel J. Fellman
  • Starr L. Guckert
  • Reverend Douglas P. Mackey
  • Suzette M. Melendez, Esq.
  • Montanette C. Murphy
  • Francis M. Parks
  • David E. Paskinski
  • Gabriel Ramos
  • Leonardo L. Sanchez, R.N.
  • Mary Alice Smothers
  • Joyce M. Suslovic
  • Rosalie Young












North Syracuse






The appointment of the remaining 8 Commissioners is still TBA, but is expected before the end of this year.


The first meeting of the Human Rights Commission will be held on Wednesday Sept. 14, 2016 at 6:00 pm    in the 1st floor Community Room at Financial Plaza Building at 1204 Warren St. Syracuse, NY 13204.  Future meeting dates and locations will be posted on this website.  The business portions of these meetings are open to the public.    


Current Staff

Executive Director - Barrie Gewanter     
Human Rights Specialist - Bridget Owens

  Barrie Gewanter at Community Info. Fair                             Bridget at Community Info. Fair



Summer Aide - Monica Bacote


Staff Objectives


- Provide diversity training to all county employees and to non-profit human services agencies

- Provide presentations about human and civil rights, diversity and discrimination for community groups and organizations

- Respond to requests for information, referral and other forms of assistance from community members (from 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday as staff are available)

- Identify and investigate serious complaints relating to the Onondga County Justice Center for consideration by the Jail Oversight Committee

- Coordinate Onondaga County's Title VI, ADA & LEP Plan in collaboration with Administrators in each County Department


- Investigate serious allegations of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accomodations

- Utilize processes of conference, conciliation, persuasion and education to address or resolve
situations of intergroup conflict and alleged discrimination;

- Produce pamphlets and factsheets to provide the public with information about human and civil rights, and about the Commission and its work



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