Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

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Abby Porth Joins SF Human Rights Commission

October 9, 2015
Posted by: Jeremy Russell, Communications Manager

JCRC Associate Executive Director Abby Porth was appointed this week to serve on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (SFHRC). Abby was pleased to accept this opportunity as an appointee of Mayor Ed Lee, and expressed her hope that others in our community will be inspired to get involved in civic affairs. As it happens, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has been one of SFHRC’s strongest supporters over the decades and was instrumental in its inception.

In 1964, JCRC’s then-Executive Director, Earl Raab, worked with Mayor John Shelley to found the Commission. Earl went on to serve as its first Vice Chair. Of the 14 original commissioners, two others were JCRC members, as well – Robert Lauter, a Jewish businessman and civic leader, and Howard Nemerovski, an attorney and member of the Board of Directors of American Jewish Congress. The Bay Area Jewish community has long advocated for civil rights and social justice, and civic engagement is a component of this long-standing tradition. To this day, JCRC volunteers and staff continue to be involved in civic affairs and social justice work. 

Appointed onto the SFHRC by Mayor Gavin Newsom in July 2007, JCRC Board member Michael Sweet served as the Commission's Vice-Chair in 2008 and subsequently as its Chair in 2010. Still an active commissioner, he was naturally very pleased to hear of Abby’s appointment:

“The mayor could not have picked a stronger candidate to serve on the Human Rights Commission. A tireless advocate who never gives less than 100 percent, I have no doubt that Abby will serve the people of the City and County of San Francisco with the same perseverance and dedication that she brings to her position with the JCRC. I look forward to working with Abby in her new capacity of Human Rights Commissioner.”

He is not alone in expressing enthusiasm. SFHRC Executive Director Theresa Sparks was effusive in her praise. And Commissioner Sheryl Evans Davis, who is the co-facilitator for the Workforce Investment Citizen’s Advisory Committee and founding director of the Mo’ MAGIC collaborative, likewise expressed strong confidence:

“Abby has demonstrated a dedication to advancing the rights of all people and giving attention to those in need or without a voice. She is not afraid to stand bold when sitting quietly would be the easy choice. We need advocates who will work to close the gaps of disparity and inequality and I believe Abby to such a person.”

In its more than 50 years of existence, SFHRC has addressed prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination. Commission members are diverse and represent the multiple interests of the community. They must leverage both their professional and personal backgrounds to better address the wide range of issues affecting human rights in San Francisco. Abby, for whom the management of complex and sensitive community relations issues is part of the routine at JCRC, looks forward to the challenge.

She was inducted on October 7 by Mayor Lee’s Director of Legislative and Government Affairs, Nicole Elliott, at a ceremony in San Francisco City Hall.

PHOTO: JCRC Associate Executive Director Abby Porth signs her oath of office for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. (Photo by Jessica Trubowitch.)