Columbus City Council Announces 2 New Human Rights Commission Members

The Columbus City Council announced two new Human Rights Commission appointments at the Tuesday, March 19th City Council Meeting. Ms. Graciela Spencer was appointed by City Council to a term of One year, expiring on March 31st, 2025. This seat is filling the remainder of an open term.

Mr. Joseph Joyner was appointed by City Council to a full term of three years, expiring on March 31st, 2027. Ms. Spencer is a Bilingual Student Success Coach at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, IN. She has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from IU Columbus and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the Universidad de las AmericasPuebla. Some of her recent work includes providing professional development training to faculty and staff at the Air Park Campus. Some topics included creating an inclusive environment for multilingual students, financial aid for Latino/Hispanic students, barriers to international students, and reasonable accommodations for limited English-proficient students. Graciela and her family relocated to Columbus in 2010. While here, she has worked with Family School Partners in Bartholomew County School Corporation and VIM Care Clinic,
assisting Spanish-speaking individuals. Ms. Spencer is highly engaged in the Latino/Hispanic community and looks forward to educating underrepresented residents about the mission of the Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Joyner is the Human Resources Generalist at the Bartholomew County
Public Library. He is passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive
environment for library staff and the community. Mr. Joyner has a Bachelor of
Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago. He has in-depth knowledge of antidiscrimination laws and has participated in investigations of ethical violations and discrimination throughout his professional career.

Joseph has the following certifications: Mental Health First Aid, LGBTQ+ Safe Leader Certification, and SHRM-CP. His community involvement includes Cummins Pride Employee Resources Group, and It’s Okay Mental Health Committee. Mr. Joyner is
interested in working with the most vulnerable residents to provide support
through his experiences and education.

The Columbus Human Rights Commission has been serving the community since 1962. The mission of the Commission is to lead Columbus in building and maintaining an inclusive community by enforcing the Human Rights Ordinance, educating the public, challenging attitudes and systems that create barriers to equality (equity),
and empowering community members to advance the mission. Under City Council President Miller and Mayor Ferdon’s leadership, the Commission will be at full capacity this year.
The City of Columbus Municipal Code states that the City Council shall appoint persons residing in Bartholomew County to serve on the Human Rights Commission for three year, renewable terms, “serving without compensation and broadly representative of the community’s diversity.”

For over thirty years, City Council has chosen an open application process for the Human Rights Commission. Any community member who wishes to serve on the Commission may submit a completed application. Applications are then reviewed
by the City Council member serving as a liaison to the Human Rights Commission. The current City Council liaison is Mr. Frank Miller.