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.
Rockwell (“Rocky”) Chin is a retired government civil rights attorney and a current member of the Executive Council of AARP New York since 2016. He previously served as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the New York State Division of Human Rights. Before that, Rocky served in a variety of positions at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. He spearheaded language, immigrant rights and disability rights initiatives in New York as an advocate and as an attorney. Rocky is a founder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, former Civil Rights Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, past Board Member of MFY Legal Services, Leadership for Asian Pacifics, the Asian American Arts Alliance and Yale Alumni Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (2016-2017). Rocky has a law degree from the University of Southern California, a Master's Degree in City Planning from Yale University, and a B.A. in Economics from Lehigh University.
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.
Rt. Rev. Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Bishop of QKingdom Ministries, Inc. Qkingdom is an interfaith Community Based Organization comprised of the New York Ecumenical Convocation, the Mystical Temple of the Rose and Flame, the Inter-cultural Awareness Council, the Education in Advancement Program/QK Scholarship Foundation, Woman of Great Esteem (WGE) Award, M.A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. School of Science & Technology, where students are educated, inspired and advanced, QK International Student Exchange Program and the Interfaith Academy.
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.
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. 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.