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Mayor Walsh Appoints 7 Members to the Human Rights Commission

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Mayor's Office

Building on Boston's commitment to ensuring all residents of Boston have equal opportunities and equal rights, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced he has appointed seven members to serve on Boston's reactivated Human Rights Commission. Last year, Mayor Walsh appointed Evandro Carvalho, an attorney who served for five years as a State Representative representing Boston in the Massachusetts Legislature, to serve as the Human Rights Commission Executive Director. 

"As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we're committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud to appoint these seven members to the Human Rights Commission. Their backgrounds and experiences make them uniquely qualified to serve in these roles, and they will make a real difference in the lives of our residents." 

Mayor Walsh also announced that Margaret McKenna, a lawyer and educator will serve as the Chair of the Board.

"From my time as a young civil rights lawyer through my days as an educator and foundation leader, equity, access and social justice have been the values that have guided my choices," said Margaret A. McKenna. "I thank the Mayor for appointing me and look forward to making a difference."

The seven appointed members are:

Margaret A. McKenna, Chair

McKenna is a Back Bay resident, a lawyer and educator known as a leading expert in educational opportunity, civic engagement and philanthropy. McKenna is President Emerita of Lesley University, where she served for 22 years. She also served as president of Suffolk University, Interim Director of the Sillerman Center, Heller School Brandeis University and Vice President of Radcliffe, Harvard University. From 2007 to 2011, McKenna served as president of the Walmart Foundation, where she headed a $2 billion hunger campaign, women's economic initiative and a variety of initiatives to close the Education Opportunity Gap. Her government career includes roles as Deputy White House Counsel, Deputy Undersecretary of Education as well as leading the education transition team for President Clinton. She began her career as a civil rights attorney in the U.S. department of Justice and left there to become the Executive Director of IAOHRA, the national association for city and state Human Rights Commissions. In this role she provided technical assistance and training to commissions throughout the country and represented them in coalitions with other major Civil Rights organizations. Mckenna has served as  a member of the Boston School Committee and Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Benjamin Goldberger

Goldberger is a resident of Jamaica Plain, and serves as the General Counsel for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Goldberger's career in law includes work on internal investigations, grand jury investigations, administrative law, and other complex civil litigation. Goldberger also served as law clerk to the Honorable Mark Wolf, Senior Judge of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He holds degrees from Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania.

Leonard Lee

Lee is a resident of Dorchester, and serves as the general manager for the Melnea Cass Recreation Complex in Roxbury. As part of his role, Lee organizes exhibits and concerts and hosts lectures and educational programs. He is a long time community activist. Lee has decades of experience in public health, most recently as director of the Division of Violence and Injury Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Prior to taking on the senior managerial role at the Department of Public Health, Lee served as the Unit Manager of Child and Youth Violence Prevention managing the Shaken Baby Syndrome, Youth Violence Prevention, and Safe Spaces for LGBTQ Youth programs.

Judge Leslie Earl Harris

Judge Harris is a resident of Dorchester with over 40 years of experience in the legal field. Harris' experience includes serving in Massachusetts Trial Court, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office as Chief of the Juvenile Division, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and the Roxbury Defenders Committee. Harris has a broad range of experience throughout the legal field, and is the founding member of four boards designed to advocate for social justice and juvenile justice reform. Harris holds degrees from Boston College Law School, Boston University, Northwestern University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Simmons University. 

Reyes Coll-Tellechea

Professor Coll-Tellechea is an experienced academic committed to public service who maintains an active public profile in the community. She served on Mayor Walsh's Transition Task Force (Human Services) and the City of Boston's Diversity Task Force. She frequently volunteers as a translator and interpreter for Massachusetts nonprofits working with immigrants and refugees. Born in Spain, she arrived in the United States with limited English skills and great hope. She has lived in this country most of her life and considers herself an "American by choice." Professor Coll-Tellechea lives in Dorchester with her wife, Shauna.

Robert MacEachern

MacEachern is a third generation Codman Square resident, who first became active in the Codman Square community while in middle school. MacEachern has served on the Board of the Codman Square Health Center for over 15 years and is its current President. He has also served on the Board of DotWell and served as their Chairman. He is currently also a Trustee at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester. MacEachern is a proud graduate of the Boston Public Schools with a learning disability and has spent the past 20 years working with at risk teens, first with the UMass Boston Upward Bound TRIo Program, and most recently as the Senior counselor at the Home for Little Wanderers Waltham House, a group home for LGBTQ youth. MacEachern holds a degree from UMass Boston.

Anne Rousseau

Rousseau is a resident of Jamaica Plain, and has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Metro Housing Boston since 2002, with extensive involvement in her local neighborhood. Rousseau holds degrees from Boston College and the Episcopal Divinity School.

Mayor Walsh reactivated the Human Rights Commission in August. Boston's Human Rights Commission was established by City ordinance in 1984 to guarantee that all residents are given fair and equal treatment under the law. The Commission has not been active since 1996. Mayor Walsh has charged the newly created Commission to pay special attention to the needs of Boston's immigrant communities. Both state and federal law provide legal protections and mandate that certain basic services be provided to all people, regardless of their immigration status. 

"I'm proud to welcome these members to the Human Rights Commission, and look forward to working in partnership with them to advance Mayor Walsh's mission to ensure the rights of all," said Evandro Carvalho, Executive Director of the Human Rights Committee. 

The Human Rights Commission is a seven-member body appointed by the Mayor, which was originally created to receive and investigate complaints regarding discrimination relating to the workplace, housing, credit, education, public accommodations and other areas.

The Commission has the power to conduct hearings and call witnesses, and can issue reports and the results of investigations. The Commission also has the power to adopt rules and regulations and recommend legislation to the City Council and the Mayor.

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