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Message from Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian
COMMISSIONER’S MESSAGE – April 1, 2010
 
Dear Friends:
 
I’ve got several pieces of news to share this time and I want to get right to those, but I want to talk first, briefly, about the Oregon Advocacy Commissions.  The members of the Commissions play an important role in shaping public policy in Oregon and all Oregonians should be aware of their contributions.
 
The Oregon Commissions on Asian Affairs, Black Affairs and Hispanic Affairs, and the Oregon Commission for Women, are made up of gubernatorial appointees confirmed by the State Senate.  The four Commissions are staffed by a total of two people, who handle all of the administrative work generated by 37 active, engaged members.  These are volunteers who take on their advocacy responsibilities in addition to their day-to-day personal enterprises, which for some are quite substantial.
 
What work are they doing?  Each Commission sets its own agenda, but the combined mission is to work toward economic, social, legal and political equality for minorities and women in Oregon.  I have been privileged to speak at public meetings and town halls sponsored by the Commissions, we work together to keep good information flowing back and forth between their constituencies and BOLI, and I am looking forward to even more cooperative efforts in the coming years.  BOLI, particularly as the home of the state’s Civil Rights Division, shares many common goals with the advocacy commissions.  BOLI’s mission to protect employment rights, advance employment opportunities, and protect access to housing and public accommodations free from discrimination is made all the easier when we work constructively with the expertise and community relationships that the various commission members bring to their positions.
 
Just as the Civil Rights Division benefits from partnering with the advocacy commissions, so too does the Oregon Council on Civil Rights (OCCR.).  Where OCCR has a diverse, multi-faceted membership that is looking for state-level solutions to problems with broad consequences or impacts, each of the advocacy commissions works with a specific community of Oregonians to empower and engage their activism.  All of these roles are important in achieving success for all Oregonians.
 
I am encouraged by the work of the Commissions and OCCR.  Fostering cooperative and mutually supporting relationships between OCCR and the advocacy commissions, and between each of them and the Civil Rights Division, is the key to ensuring civil rights issues in Oregon are addressed effectively from multiple perspectives.
 
Sincerely,
Brad Avakian
State Labor Commissioner