July 29 Speaker: Sarah Carlson and Celi Haga, Chaska Human Rights Commission

Bob Roepke introduced Sarah Carlson and Celi Haga from the Chaska Human Rights Commission (HRC).  Celi is the HRC vice-Chair and Director of Communications and Community Relations at Schools of Eastern Carver County. She has broad experience in positions of legislative coordination, communications and executive directorship. Sarah the current Chair of the Human Rights Commission for the City of Chaska, Chair of the Carver County Community Development Agency, Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Eastern Carver County, Board member of the Chaska History Center, volunteer for Launch Ministry, and member of Chaska’s Housing Collaborative.

Bob Roepke provided some background to the formation of the HRC during his term as Chaska’s Mayor, recalling the city’s intention to address the changing demographics and enable the city to maintain a sense of inclusiveness through education and exposure to new groups.

Celi Haga let us know that our HRC is one of 31 in Minnesota, and that each municipality determines their own goals and structure. The HRC has worked with the City Council to align strategic plans, build bridges between groups and make Chaska a community where all are welcome.  Sarah reviewed the activities and events of recent years such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, the Chaska Human Rights Award, Marnita’s Table, and this year’s Pride Picnic. She noted all the partnerships and collaborations that were required to culminate in these demonstrations of commitment within Chaska. “Green Card Voices” is a program that enables communities to hear directly from immigrants about their journeys and experiences of assimilation and acceptance. After referencing Rotary International’s goals in this regard, Sarah offered our club the opportunity to help sponsor this event for Chaska in 2022. We were also asked to think about nominations for next year’s Human Rights Award because of its alignment with the Rotary values. Handouts placed on our breakfast tables helped us learn about the Human Rights Commission and pointed us toward a future that reflects the high aspirations of Chaska, the HRC and Rotary.