Human Relations Commission

The Topeka Human Relations Commission (THRC) is a nine member Board of Commissioners who are appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council. The mission of the THRC is to conduct outreach and educational activities that promote justice and cultural understanding and improve relationships among all citizens of Topeka.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Human Relations Commission is to conduct outreach and educational activities that promote justice and cultural understanding, and improve relationships among all people of the City of Topeka.

Vision Statement

The Topeka Human Relations Commission is the key educational and services connecting resource for the city to its people to help eradicate inequality, provide cultural education and create a diverse, accepting community that assists, adapts to and upholds every member in its midst with fairness, kindness and a path to a stable and prosperous future.

Human Relations Commission Meetings

The HRC normally meets on the 1st Monday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in the 1st floor conference room of City Hall, 215 SE 7th Street. Please check the public calendar for upcoming meetings.

Changing the Culture of Property Maintenance

THRC Achievements

ASSISTED GOVERNING BODY ON CITY OF TOPEKA NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE UPDATE – Ordinance 20276 

The THRC promotes community participation in completion of the Public Input forms created by the Public Health & Safety Committee’s Changing the Culture of Property Maintenance series. Input is sought as it pertains to substandard properties, vacant properties, overgrowth, trash, and overall ways for changing the culture of the community as it relates to Property Maintenance. Please select the link for additional information on this initiative.

Related Discrimination Legislation

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia

The recent United States Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020), held that the broader category of “sex” set out in Title VII includes discrimination based on LGBTQ and all derivatives of “sex.”  As such, the Kansas Human Relations Commission (KHRC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are accepting and investigating complaints related to discrimination based on “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” and individuals who wish to file a complaint may do so through the KHRC; the EEOC; or through administrative processes provided by other state and federal laws.

Individuals with a concern or complaint of discrimination based on LGBTQ status should contact the KHRC or EEOC at:

Kansas Human Rights Commission
http://www.khrc.net/complaint.html
(888) 793-6874 (toll free)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
https://www.eeoc.gov/how-file-charge-employment-discrimination
(800) 669-4000

Troy Scroggins Award

Learn more about the Troy Scroggins Award.

Stephanie Mott Award

Learn more about the Stephanie Mott Award.

Membership

The Topeka Human Relations Commission shall consist of nine members to be drawn from individuals with disabilities and from diverse gender, racial, ethnic, commercial, and industrial segments of the community. The commissioners shall reside within the corporate limits of the city. The commissioners shall be appointed by the mayor from council nominations, and such appointments shall be confirmed by the council.

Apply to be a commissioner.

Current HRC Commissioners

Commissioner Cynthia Hopp

Term: March 21, 2020 – March 21, 2022
Cynthia Hopp has been a teacher for the Topeka public school system since 2013 and has been teaching for the last ten years. She recently graduated with a Masters of Educational Leadership at Kansas State University.

Cynthia is a member of the Minority Leadership Academy and a Kagan Cooperative Learning instructional coach. After school hours, she serves at the Woman’s Foundation and is also a Human Relations Commissioner for the city of Topeka.

With an evident passion for education and volunteering, Cynthia enjoys helping people achieve their goals.

Cynthia is married to Kevin Hopp and is the mother of two children, Mikaela and Mauricio. In her spare time, she enjoys learning how to play the cello, meditating, and doing yoga.

Commissioner Lorean Williams

Term: June 2, 2018 – June 2, 2022
Lorean Johnson Williams was born in Greenville, MS and has been a residence of Topeka, KS since 1980. She is the mother of three, grandmother of eight and great grandmother of six.

Lorean is a 1992 Associate of Arts, Paralegal graduate from Washburn University and is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She received the Junior League of Topeka Community Volunteer Award and the Golden City Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award.

Lorean has been active in Civil/Human Rights for over 25 years. She has served in various positions to include board member, panelist, and secretary. As a member of the Justice for All People, High Crest NIA, Topeka Weed & Seed, the Law Enforcement Partnership Panel. Lorean is a current member on Topeka Chief of Police Advisory Council.

She is active in her church and community. Lorean is on the County Support team in KDOR Vehicle Services.

Lorean tries to be a voice for those who need to be heard.

 

 

Commissioner Erica Garcia Babb

Term: March 13, 2020 – March 9, 2022
Erica Garcia Babb first moved to Topeka in 2016. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and raised just south of there in the small town of Kingsville. Later she graduated from the same university as both her parents, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. She was a middle school and high school math teacher for four years before returning to her engineering background. Since then, she has worked at an alumina refinery, a power plant, and now most recently a pet food production facility. She and her husband, John, have a two year old boy and have chosen Topeka as the place they would like him to spend his childhood.

After being in Topeka for a few years, Erica decided it was time to play a role in shaping this community for her son. She has since become a part of the Human Relations Committee, Airport Advisory Board, Topeka United, and Moms Demand Action.

 

Commissioner Luc Bensimon

Term: August 3, 2020 – June 30, 2022

I am a 48 year old man of Trans experience born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. I was born with 3 strikes against me being assigned female at birth, being Afro-American and born with a disability all of which I have been discriminated against in different areas of my life. I have two degrees in Human Services youth and children emphasis and a BA in Criminal Justice. I wear a few different hats when it comes to activism. I am the current president and one of the founding members of Kansas statewide transgender education project (K.S.T.E.P), current chairperson of Equality Kansas Topeka chapter, and the president of Capital city equality center (The Mott House), the president and founder of the Black Transmen Inc. Kansas chapter (BTMI Kansas). Mr. Black Trans Kansas 2019-2020,ward captain and ward 1 precinct 3 precinct committee Man  I am an activist for the LGBT community but my true passion Trans people of color.

Commissioner Nicholas Smith

Term: January 20, 2021 – February 11, 2022

Nicholas Smith is a Juris Doctor candidate at Washburn University School of Law. Raised in the rural piney hills of north Louisiana, Nicholas understands the unique challenges smaller communities face. He values the dignity of hard work from his years of working on his family’s cattle and poultry farm. Cherishing the values of equity, community-building, and opportunity he learned back home, Nicholas is excited to now call Topeka home and work toward a bright future in Kansas.

Nicholas and his husband, Casey, first moved to Topeka in 2020 to pursue their law degrees. After many neighborhood walks with his husband and dog during the pandemic, Nicholas decided to step up and serve the community who has been so warm and welcoming to his family.

Commissioner Carol Roberts

Term: May 3, 2021 – May 28, 2022

Carol Roberts was born and raised in Topeka.  She is a wife, mother to seven children and grandmother to six grandchildren.  Carol attended elementary through high school in the Seaman School District.  Upon graduation from high school she attended Washburn University where she graduated in 1988 with a degree in court and conference reporting.  Carol has been a freelance court reporter, worked in the Johnson County District Courts as an official reporter and now owns a transcription company that serves law enforcement agencies, courts and a variety of other clients.  Carol also owns a health and wellness business dedicated to the science and study of nutrition and genetic expression with regard to the prevention or treatment of disease.

Carol has served in various capacities in city and community groups such as the Law Enforcement Partnership Panel established under Police Chief Ron Miller.  She has served also in Kansans for Life as well as been involved in radio and newspaper ministries.  She is active in her church and serves in several roles there.  Carol is involved with Trash Mountain Project which serves people living in trash dump communities worldwide.  Carol is passionate about her faith and encouraging others.  She believes that all lives are precious and every human should be treated with dignity and respect.

Commissioner Jeremy “Gibby” Gibson

Term: January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

Jeremy “Gibby” Gibson is a native Topekan who has spent over 15 years teaching for Topeka Public Schools and has served on its Equity Council since its inception. He has recently been elected to serve as president for National Education Association – Topeka. He also serves on the Kansas National Education Association Social and Racial Justice Task Force, and has joined the Leadership Advisory Group for the Topeka United Mosaic Partnership. Gibby has joined forces with other running enthusiasts to host the TopCity Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile run through the city of Topeka.

He is loved and supported by his wife, Shantel, who owns a licensed daycare; his daughter, Avery, who plays violin for the school orchestra and snare for the Cruzline at Topeka High School; and his daughter, Ellis, who also plays snare at Landon Middle School.

In his free time, Gibby can be seen running across the city as he is busy training for various ultramarathon trail races across the Midwest.

Commissioner Angelique Brown

Term: March 16, 2021 – January 1, 2023

Angelique Brown is a native of Long Island, New York. She is a current student at Washburn University School of Law where she serves as the President of the Black Law Students Association, is a member of the Washburn Student Bar Association, and the host of the podcast, Law Schooled at Washburn. Prior to attending Washburn Law she became a CLEO fellow and CLIC Scholarship recipient. She is also a recipient of the Fred Schaufeld Scholarship Program.

Angelique earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the illustrious Hampton University. While at Hampton,she worked with the Virginia League of Conservation of Voters where she helped restore the voting rights of former felons in the state of Virginia and educated low resourced communities about their voting rights. She was later recognized as the Top College Representative. She plans to use her law degree to give a voice to the voiceless, ensuring that they receive the justice they deserve. She aspires to carry the torch of her ancestors, with the hope of creating a better tomorrow for generations to come.

Commissioner Jennifer Goetz

Term:

Jennifer Goetz was born and raised in Lecompton, Kansas, is a 2003 graduate of the University of Kansas and a 2013 graduate of Baker University’s MBA program. Jennifer is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers. Jennifer is married to Jeff Carson and is mother to her daughter, Jillian.

Jennifer serves the ARTSConnect Board, the Board of Kansas Ballet Academy, is President of the American Advertising Federation Topeka board, as well as the YWCA Governance Committee. She loves to volunteer her time for Meals on Wheels, Topeka South Rotary initiatives, and oversees 20,000+ members as the administrator of The Topeka Experience Facebook page. Jennifer has served as a digital media manager for Michelle De La Isla’s Mayoral seat and congressional campaign and also assisted multiple candidates in the last election cycle as Communications Manager with the Kansas Senate Democrats.

Jennifer excels at networking, communication, design and fundraising and recently spearheaded a self motivated social initiative to provide funds to unemployed service industry workers in Topeka due to COVID-19 through the “Ad Astra” t-shirt project which raised over $1,800 to help affected employees.

Jennifer is committed to Topeka and the state of Kansas and is proud to influence and lead positive social change.