Human Rights

2018 is an extraordinary year of human and civil rights programming honoring the
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King:
"Fifty Years Since King: Chaos or Community?"

Waterloo Human Rights Commission is working in collaboration with several agencies and organizations  this year to help us explore together how far we have come since the assassination of one of America's greatest heroes.

2018 Partial List of MLK-Supported Events, Part II

August 10 (Friday). 5:30 pm. North End Art and Music Festival Reception.  Waterloo Center for the Arts.  As small part of the reception at WCA, we are privileged to honor/recognize with awards Rev. Dr. Kenneth R. Adderley; Rev. Dr. Mary E. Robinson; and Ms. Chaveevah B. Ferguson

August 24 (Friday). Special Guest – Dr. Nick De Bonis, Author of the book,The Bridge Between: Race, Rage and Reconciliation in 1960s Iowa. Reception at Jubilee UMC Resource Center.  2:30 pm.  Public welcome.

August 24 & 25 (Friday and Saturday).  Rendition of the play, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall. The Hope Martin Theatre/Waterloo Center for the Arts.  Telephone: 319-291-4494. (  Free admission.  Start time:  7 pm each night.

August 30 (Thursday).  Faith for Energy Conference.  Exploring ideas for increased energy conservation.  Jubilee UMC Resource Center. Starting at 9:30 am.  Meal will be served.  Sponsored by Faith for Energy Equity, Creation Justice Ministries, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, State and Local NAACP, other collaborators.

September-October 2018. Book Read:  Martin Luther King, Jr.: An Inconvenient Hero by Vincent Harding.  Place and Time TBD.

September 8 – Focus on Diabetes Project.  Wloo Center for the Arts.  11 -2 pm.  Petersen Town Hall Room. Public highly encouraged to participate in these free screenings.

September 18-22.  Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday Celebration.  UNI, Rod Library.

 Months of September & October – 50 Voices Project.  This project in collaboration with Grout Museum is designed to “fix” something of 50 persons who have first-hand knowledge of the Waterloo Riots, which occurred 50 years ago September 1968, shortly after King’s assassination in April of same year.

October 9 (Tuesday).  Criminal Justice Conference.  8-5pm.  Spearheaded by Al Hays, Ph.D.  Will be held at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, Petersen Town Hall Room.  Public welcome.

October 12 (Friday).  Inclusion Conference.  Diamond Event Center (Western Homes). 8-1 pm.

 October 18 (Thursday).  $30 Ticket Fundraiser Dinner for AMANI Community Services, Inc.

Jubilee UMC Resource Center. Caterer:  LeChristopher’s Southern Cuisine.

November 2018.  Road Trip - Memphis to Montgomery to Tuskegee and Back.  More information forthcoming.

Last Quarter of the Year Award Celebration for Ms. Anna Mae Weems. Special Guest Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Jesse Jackson (Invited).  More information forthcoming.

December 10 – International Human Rights Day.  Proclamation Reading; Kick-off for MLK51


These events are part of the MLK 2018 Year of Service, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For more information contact Abraham Funchess, Director, Waterloo Commission on Human Rights by calling (319) 291-4441 or email to .


Waterloo Commission on Human Rights - Winner of the 2016 YWCA Women of Persimmon Organization Award

Promoting Women’s Rights and Empowering Women

It is our pleasure to provide you with insight into the city's efforts to address alleged discrimination issues facing our community. On our website, you will find a number of proven programs, activities, and practical applications that have worked to increase the awareness of Waterloo citizens. Many efforts have been made to recognize our emerging diversity as a positive community asset. Please feel free to call us with any suggestions, questions, or ideas that could help improve the quality of life for all Waterloo citizens.

Please visit the Do You Know Your Rights? website to learn more about your civil rights.

WCHR Success Points
Success Points for Waterloo Commission on Human Rights (WCHR), Funchess’ Administration, 2010-present

  • As of August 2013, our application for direct relationship with EEOC had been approved! This signature development will allow WCHR the opportunity to do more on behalf of our constituency, via increased staffing and more education outreach;
  • Thanks to internal process changes, logistical moves, additional team support, and renewed team spirit, we are now eliminating our Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) backlog; in fact, we have significantly reduced our backlog while maintaining high standards of care and justice for our complainants;
  • WCHR now realizes an increase in the funding associated with charge resolutions as a result of the new direct relationship with EEOC. [We have documented improvements along the way; e.g., WCHR was able to submit an EEOC invoice for over 60 cases this past fiscal year (2011/2012)—a 178% increase over last year’s submission (and for that matter, over the last decade);
  • We had received additional HUD grant partnership funding $66,000 [FY2013], $120,000 [FY2014] , which allows for improved education outreach and staffing to affirmatively furthering fair housing education in Waterloo, in conjunction with Iowa Civil Rights Commission;
  • We have recovered over half a million dollars in economic relief for our complainants over the last several months [as of early 2012]—this is at least a 5000% increase over the last decade leading up to June 2010. This increase is indicative of more robust communications between WCHR and community entities that are concerned about creating a culture of diversity inclusion in our city;
  • We continue to engage in meaningful education outreach discussions and activity, like participation in forums which focus on improved education delivery; criminal justice reform to improve the life chances of those with criminal record; as well as sexual and domestic violence reform. In fact, the Commission championed on February 10, 2014, the passing of Article B. Housing Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, of Chapter 3, Human Rights, Title 5, Police Regulations. We engage in these type of policy changes and community discussions while ensuring that our primary WCHR tasks—complaint processing, charge resolutions—remain on target;
  • We developed and implemented for the first time in WCHR history the Human Rights Training Academy. It debuted July 2012 and was attended by 25 persons. The Training Academy accents the positive developments occurring in the community while educating the participant about WCHR’s history, structure, staffing levels, budget, enforcement work, etc.;
  • We continue to work with various community partners to advance the community’s Building Healthy Community Initiative, which involves organizing community stakeholders and neighborhood coalition members to work toward the elimination of fear and violence in community.
  • In 2017, recovered nearly 1 million dollars in economic relief for Waterloo citizens since 2010 who filed EEOC and Housing complaints;

  • Engaged 500-700 city employees in Diversity-Inclusion conversations – including conversations dealing with generational differences;

  • Employed community forums, city website, Facebook and radio among other mediums to educate community on human rights issues like voter suppression, immigration reform, race, and sexual harassment;

  • Partnered with Waterloo public school system to help mentor vulnerable members of our community;

  • Collaborating and partnering with several organizations in community to sponsor the 2018 Human Rights Corridor of Activity,  a year -long celebration of King using the theme “Fifty Years Since King:  Chaos or Community?”

To Be Free At Last

A Human Rights Movement to end mass incarceration in the United States

We are asking all of community to join us in building a bold new movement to dismantle our nation's latest system of racial and social control and replace it with a broad-based commitment to basic human rights, compassion, and justice for all.

Join us, as we inspire a great awakening, bringing together and supporting all those who are committed to movement building, not just tinkering with the system as is. Join us, as we build a bold, courageous movement that will end not just mass incarceration, but forge a new moral consensus about how we, as a nation, ought to respond to poor people of color in the United States and embrace all of humanity.

“Bearing Witness Report: A Nation In Chains”

Contact Information
Waterloo Human Rights Commission
620 Mulberry Street
Waterloo, IA 50703
Phone:(319) 291-4441
Fax: (319) 291-4295
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm