May 25, 2017
As pioneers fighting for equality on a wide range of human rights issues, new appointees will help reinforce the City’s commitment to social justice and dignity
NEW YORK – Building on his commitment to empower the City Commission on Human Rights as a venue for all New Yorkers who have been the victim of discrimination to find justice, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his appointment of Carrie Davis, Gurdev Singh Kang, and Faiza Patel as Human Rights Commissioners.
The City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) enforces and educates on the City Human Rights Law, one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation. Human Rights Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and advise and assist the Chair and Commissioner in identifying issues of bias, discrimination, and harassment impacting their communities. Commissioners also encourage positive community relations, meet quarterly with the Chair and Commission staff, vote on proposed and final rules, and provide recommendations to the Commission.
“Spanning LGBTQ rights, national security issues, and leadership in Sikh communities, today’s appointees represent the very best of New York City. This progressive and extraordinarily qualified group share strong dedication to safeguarding the rights, safety, and dignity of all people in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Reiterating what I said when I appointed Carmelyn P. Malalis at the helm of CCHR, I am confident this agency will continue to be a robust enforcer of our fundamental civil rights and improve community relations among New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs.”
“Since arriving at the Commission in 2015, I’ve worked hard to make sure that the Commission ‘walks the walk’ by embracing diversity and inclusivity from within and by being a reflection of the communities we serve across the city,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “I enthusiastically welcome Carrie, Faiza, and Gurdev to the Commission, all of whom are true pioneers in the fight for equality and dignity. As fierce and zealous advocates, their knowledge, skills, and strong commitment to human rights will serve to strengthen and energize the mission of our agency to eliminate discrimination in this City and ensure equity and equality for all New Yorkers.”
“I have been very fortunate to be able to collaborate with the City for nearly 19 years to address the human rights needs of all New Yorkers,” said Carrie Davis. “This has taken many forms including working to pass legislation to amend the Human Rights Law to protect New Yorkers from discrimination based on their gender identity and expression. Now, I am extremely honored for this unique opportunity to serve as a Commissioner and work directly to better safeguard the human rights of some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, in particular those that identify as transgender.”
“It is a great honor to serve as a Commissioner. It is very important that the voices of minorities be heard during this crucial time,” said Gurdev Singh Kang. “Therefore, I hope to help prevent discrimination against New Yorkers based on their race and religious beliefs. Every New Yorker has the right to practice his/her own religion without having to face any fear or threat of a violent attack."
“I am honored to be joining the Commission, particularly at this moment when our civil rights and liberties and our diverse communities are under threat,” said Faiza Patel. “I look forward to playing a part in ensuring that our City’s human rights law remains a vital and robust protection for all New Yorkers.”
Meet the Three New CCHR Commissioners:
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.
Gurdev Singh Kang
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.
Faiza PatelFaiza 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.