The functions of the Commission on Human Rights are set forth in Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the Human Rights Law: to foster mutual understanding and respect among all persons in the City of New York and to encourage equality of treatment for, and prevent discrimination against, any group or its members.
The Commissioners, who are appointed by the Mayor to serve in a non-salaried position, assist the Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, in addressing issues of discrimination citywide.
Catherine Albisa, Co-founder and Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a strong background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States and previously directed the Human Rights in the US program at the Center for Economic and Social Rights. She also served as associate director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, and co-directed the International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic at CUNY Law School. She has also served as a board chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Born in Brooklyn, Ms. Albisa graduated from Columbia Law School and the University of Miami.
Reverend Dr. Demetrius Carolina is Pastor of the First Central Baptist Church on Staten Island and a widely recognized civil rights advocate, devoting over 25 years to civil rights issues in several countries. Since 2005, Rev. Dr. Carolina has been the executive director of the Central Family Life Center, an organization dedicated to the socioeconomic improvement of various underserved communities on Staten Island. He created and developed the first SNUG initiative on Staten Island; an anti-gun violence community-based program on the North Shore.
Previously, he worked as acting-dean and professor at Strayer University; associate professor at the New York School of Divinity; adjunct professor at Metropolitan College of NY; vice president of Operations and Community Relations with M.B.D. Community Housing Corporation; dean of students at Berkeley College; and coordinator of student affairs and adjunct professor at Camden Community College. Born in Manhattan, Reverend Dr. Carolina received a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix, completed Post Master’s Research at NYU, and earned his Masters of Educational Administration from Temple University. He is married and has three children.
Steven Choi is the Executive Director for the New York Immigration Coalition, a nearly 200-member organization that promotes immigrants’ full civic participation, fosters their leadership, and provides a unified platform for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities. Previously, Mr. Choi worked as the executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action; program director for YKASEC - Empowering the Korean American Community; and director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He has served on the boards of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, and the Human Services Council, as well as the advisory boards of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law at NYU Law School and the Center for Neighborhood Leadership. Mr. Choi earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii, and a B.A. in History from Stanford University.
From 1998 to 2016, Carrie Davis worked at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, most recently serving as the Chief Programs & Policy Officer. Davis also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College's Silberman School of Social Work and will receive Hunter’s 2017 Trailblazer award in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a social worker. She worked extensively with, and serves on numerous advisory boards for, New York City and New York State to develop guidelines, policies, regulations, and best practices to better address the needs of LGBT people. In 2015, Davis was named a Woman of Distinction by the New York State Senate in recognition of her contributions to enrich the quality of life in her community. Davis has written and contributed to a number of publications on gender, health, and social services.
Jonathan Greenspun is a public strategy consultant and a Managing Director at Mercury, where he specializes in New York City government relations, strategic communications, crisis communication, media relations and community grassroots organizing. Previously, he served as Commissioner of the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU) from 2002 until 2006 and was one of the youngest commissioners in the history of New York City government. He also served under Governor George E. Pataki and was involved in several political campaigns including Mike Bloomberg’s 2001 mayoral campaign; Rick Lazio’s 2000 Senate campaign; Al D’Amato's 1998 Senate campaign; and Governor Pataki’s 1994 and 1998 gubernatorial campaigns.
Greenspun serves on a number of civic boards, including The New York City Chapter of the League of Conservation Voters and the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. A past board member of The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and The Jewish National Fund, Mr. Greenspun was also president of his local synagogue. He and his wife reside in Riverdale with their three children.
Reverend Sylveta A. Hamilton-Gonzales
Bishop Gonzales’ outstanding achievements include her nomination as one of the 500 Greatest Geniuses of the 21st Century; she has also been recognized as an inaugural member of the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England as one of the Top 100 Educators 2006; 2006 ONI Award recipient; 2007 Carib News Business Conference Marcus Garvey Award; Caribbean Food Delights’ Community Service Award; The Spirit of New York Award; the World Lifetime Achievement Award; Millennium Hall of Fame inductee; Who’s Who in International Leadership and International Distinguished Leaders; Proclamation from the Government of Bermuda. She is a member of the International Black Women’s Congress and the Progressive Democratic Political Association.
Gurdev Singh Kang is the former president of the largest Sikh temple in New York City, The Sikh Cultural Society Inc. Kang served as president from 2012 to 2016, and has been affiliated with the Sikh Cultural Society for over 25 years. As president, he started the Nagar Kirtan program and sports initiatives for youth. Kang is a member of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council and a clergy member of 1 Police Plaza. He emigrated from Punjab, India, in 1981 and started a deli/grocery business. By 1986, Kang encountered great success in his business endeavors ranging from real estate to retail. Kang has been a member of Community Board 2 in Staten Island since 2006.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) and a human rights activist. She has rallied for causes ranging from workers’ rights to LGBT equality, and protested the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Under Rabbi Kleinbaum’s leadership, CBST has emerged as a vibrant and progressive religious voice, fighting to secure civil rights for LGBT people everywhere. She has previously worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC. Rabbi Kleinbaum is a graduate of the Orthodox Frisch Yeshiva High School and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Khary Lazarre-White, Esq. is the Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. Born and raised in New York City, Khary is a social entrepreneur, educator, non-profit executive, writer and attorney. In 1995, at the age of 21, Khary co-founded The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), a now nationally renowned non-profit city-wide youth organization that is based in Harlem, New York and that provides rites of passage programming, after school care, counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation and scholarship, employment opportunities, community organizing training, legal representation, and month long international study programs to Africa and Latin America. Bro/Sis has a national reach as it publishes assorted curricula and collections of their members’ writings; train educators from throughout the nation on their approach; and advises on educational policy across the country and New York City.
Khary has appeared widely on national media as a commentator, edited several publications of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, writes regular opinion pieces for the Huffington Post, and has had essays published by Nation Books, Essence Magazine, AfterSchool Matters, Vineyard Gazette, MSNBC’s thegrio.com and New York University Press. Khary has received awards from Oprah Winfrey, Ford Foundation, Black Girls Rock, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Union Square Awards, Brown University and many others. Khary received his Bachelors in Arts, with honors, from Brown University, and his Juris Doctorate from the Yale Law School where his focus was international human rights law and constitutional law.
Regina Martinez-Estela is Chief Operating Officer for Independence Care System, a Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care program serving people with disabilities and older adults in New York City. She has more than 25 years of health care experience, ranging from direct service to the promotion of public policy initiatives that expand access to services for underserved populations. Ms. Martinez-Estela manages all health plan operations at ICS, including leading the implementation of the organization’s New York State/Federal healthcare coordination demonstration program for people with Medicaid and Medicare, the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage (FIDA) plan.
Previously Ms. Martinez-Estela was Director of Legislation and Health Policy for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), where she was an effective advocate for preserving the health benefits of veterans with spinal cord injuries, protecting the civil rights of people with physical disabilities, and expanding access to affordable, barrier-free housing. Ms. Martinez-Estela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Fordham University and a MPA from Baruch College-School of Public Affairs.
Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation, has devoted over 25 years in public health for under-served populations. Ana previously led the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) as its first woman and Latina Executive Director, where she oversaw a complete overhaul of the agency from 1998-2006. Prior to her work at GMHC, Ana spearheaded community-based programs at Samaritan Village, the Osborne Association, Kings County and at Lincoln Hospitals. Ana served as a member of the NYC HIV Planning Council and the NYC Commission on AIDS, chaired the NYC Commission for LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth, and co-chaired Mayor Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative and the Board of the Women’s Funding Network.
Currently Ana serves on the Advisory Boards of the Museum of the City of New York and the Independent Budget Office, as a designee to Comptroller Stringer. She was also appointed by Mayor DeBlasio as a Commissioner of Human Rights. Ana was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She has an M.A. in Medical Anthropology and an honorary PhD. from the New School for Social Research.
Faiza Patel serves as Co-Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure that our counterterrorism laws and policies respect human rights norms and fundamental freedoms. Patel focuses on issues relating to surveillance, including police monitoring of Muslim communities, interception of electronic communications by security agencies, and Islamophobia. She is the author of seven reports: The Islamophobic Administration (2017), Countering Violent Extremism (2017), Overseas Surveillance in an Interconnected World (2016), What Went Wrong with the FISA Court (2015), Foreign Law Bans (2013), A Proposal for an NYPD Inspector General (2012), and Rethinking Radicalization (2011). Patel has testified before Congress opposing the dragnet surveillance of Muslims, organized advocacy efforts against Islamophobia, and developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD. Patel is a frequent commentator on national security and counterterrorism issues for media outlets and has published widely in academic outlets.
Arnaldo Segarra is a lifelong organizer and well-known activist who has served in federal and local government positions. Raised in the Johnson Houses of East Harlem, Mr. Segarra began his political career at the East Harlem Tenants Council in the mid-60s. Mr. Segarra served in the Lindsay administration as Special Assistant for Puerto Rican Affairs. In 1972, his record of organizing led him to Washington, D.C., where he helped establish the first Office of Hispanic Affairs for the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Segarra served President Jimmy Carter as Director for Hispanic Affairs in the North East Region during his first presidential campaign and on the Carter transition team.
Back in New York, Mr. Segarra worked under his longtime friend and former Mayor David Dinkins as Director of Mayoral Advance and as Special Assistant. He also served as Special Assistant to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer; and Director of the Advance Team and Assistant with Community Relations for Comptroller William Thompson. Mr. Segarra attended Paul Smith’s College on a basketball scholarship, and has been recognized for his work including the “Distinguished Hispanic of NY” and as one of the “80 NY Boricua Greats.” He is also a recipient of the “Unsung Hero” Award in 2004.