A longtime agent for change at NASA, Willie Love is eager to make a difference in his new role with the City of Huntsville’s Human Relations Commission (HRC).
Love, a retired Equal Opportunity Specialist who now works part-time at Alabama A&M University, was recently elected chair of the HRC. The 13-member advisory board, which meets at City Hall the last Wednesday of each month, seeks to promote mutual understanding, dignity, respect and cooperation among all residents in Huntsville.
For Love, the group is also about creating a more welcoming environment where people from different walks of life feel seen and heard.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re about,” he said. “If you have something you would like to share with us, then we want you there because we are an inclusive community. We believe all social groups should have an outlet to be able to talk about either the great things or the challenges that are going on in the community.”
The HRC is made up of a diverse group of people, with representation from United Way and First Stop to UAH, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and more. Love, a four-term board member, said each person brings unique strengths and experiences to the table.
As the City grows, Love believes HRC is primed to represent the community well.
“It’s a dynamic group of individuals who are also passionate about the quality of life for people in the City of Huntsville,” he said. “They are diverse, energetic and wanting to understand the needs of our community. They will be great ambassadors and I look forward to serving alongside them.”
Click here for a list of current members.
Goals and priorities
Looking ahead, Love has several goals for the coming year. In addition to prepping the next set of HRC leaders, HRC also plans to spend more time prioritizing and understanding the community’s needs and educating the public about its mission.
Love, also a member of the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC), said HRC will continue to evolve as the City’s needs change.
“Huntsville is a growing, dynamic community, and every day, it becomes more and more diverse,” he said. “All of these (new) people are value-added. Sometimes they may not understand all the nuances of the City. They may not know a place to go, but HRC is that place. We help provide leadership and recognize and resolve potential problems.”
HRC provides diversity training upon request and supports numerous social events and causes. The group works closely with all City departments, including Huntsville Police.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office
The HRC also has a close relationship with the City’s new Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI), formerly the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Kenny Anderson, a former dean at Calhoun Community College who joined the City in 2013, is leading the transition from Multicultural Affairs to ODEI.
Anderson hopes to strengthen ODEI’s relationship with HRC in the years to come.
“Having strong partnerships within our community is part of ODEI’s mission to promote community engagement, multicultural education, leadership development and social justice education,” he said. “We look forward to seeing HRC continue to grow and make a difference here in Huntsville.”
To reach HRC Chair Willie Love, send him an email.