Human Rights Commission

A joint statement from the Town Manager, Police Chief, and School Superintendent

                                             A statement of Support for the Rosa Family
The Amherst Human Rights Commission is aware of the incident that occurred on September 3, 2022, on Yale University’s campus, involving a Latinx New Haven resident and Amherst native. The unsolicited attack was more than just an interaction gone awry on a street, it was a racially motivated and targeted attempt at harm. We acknowledge this as a hate crime and denounce the perpetrator's behavior towards any and all in our BIPOC community, no matter the distance they’ve gone from our town. To the family that still lives in Amherst, we extend our condolences as neighbors, fellow residents, and friends.

In light of this recent hateful act, we offer our support. We acknowledge our own limitations as an Amherst-based commission, but we will utilize our position and resources within our jurisdiction to spread the word and any call of possible action from our town officials. Discussions within the HRC have already occurred, and will continue to do so until we have exhausted all possible options in the fight for the family’s justice and closure. The town of Amherst is at your disposal.

Amherst Bulletin
Yale News

A Statement of Support for Amherst Youth

The Amherst Human Rights Commission is aware of an incident that occurred on July 5, 2022 involving Amherst youth and the Amherst Police Department.  The Human Rights Commission acknowledges that that every person has rights no matter their age, race,/ethnicity, gender, able body, and class.  This Commission has voted to file a complaint with the Town Human Rights Director and Police Department requesting that this situation be viewed for possible Human Rights violations.  We have requested a quick response to our request with follow-up as appropriate.  

                                                    A Statement of Support for Ukraine

The Amherst Human Rights Commission acknowledges the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a Human Rights issue. The Amherst Human Rights Commission expresses our collective solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all that have been affected by this conflict and we hope for a peaceful resolution.

Pacific Islanders

A joint statement from the Town Manager, School Superintendent and Human Rights Chair

Our Mission
To ensure that no power goes unchecked, and that all citizens are afforded equal protection under the law.

The Human Rights Commission shall act to promote the Town of Amherst’s Human Rights Policy, to insure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, lifestyle, or age for all persons coming within the Town of Amherst. 

The Commission shall advise the Town and assist the Town Manager and Human Resources and Rights Director in the achievement of affirmative action/equal opportunity objectives, conduct and participate in educational activities related to its responsibilities, provide mediation, and review matters brought to its attention. 


Human Rights Commission meetings are open to the public and are generally scheduled from 5:45 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month, summer excluded.  Please check the Town calendar for date and time of the next meeting. 


 Name Appointed Term Expires
Philip Avila, Co-Chair  2021 2024
Victor Cruz 2022 2025
Cedric Gonnett 2020 2023
Elizabeth Haygood 2020 2023
Benjamin Herrington, Co-Chair 2019 2024
Juliana Shepard 2022 2025
Jennifer Moyston, Staff Liaison    
Vacancy (3)
Appointed by the Town Manager: 9 members / 3 year term

How to Become a Commission Member

Commissioners are Amherst residents appointed to rotating 3 year term. If you are interested in becoming a Commissioner, please complete and submit the Community Activity Form. In addition to Commission meetings, membership involves networking with other social justice groups, planning and conducting public events, advocacy, and promotion of the mission. At full capacity, the Commission has nine members.