Selection Process

The 21-member Commission on Racial and Structural Equity consists of 13 community members and eight designated members. The eight designated members were chosen because of their leadership roles in local governance and law enforcement in the community and their influence and authority to enact the change recommended by the Commission.

The remaining 13 Commissioners were selected by a 15-member selection committee inclusive of community members representing the broad diversity of the county. No Monroe County or City of Rochester staff were involved in this process.

Selection Committee Screening and Interview Process:

  1. Applications/resumes were submitted via the RASE website. Application deadline was July 10, 2020. 225 were reviewed by the selection committee. To qualify, all applications had to:
    1. be submitted by 5pm on July 10, 2020 
    2. be fully completed
    3. have 5 references who support their representation on the commission
    4. acknowledge the attestation 
    5. be residents of Monroe County
  2. 15-member community panel screened 225 applications 
    1. Selection committee was separated into 5 panels of 3.
    2. Each panel member reviewed and ranked 45 applications.  
    3. All conflicts were disclosed and no selection committee members reviewed applications of people they knew.
  3. After individual ranking, the panel of three discussed each candidate and jointly selected their top 20 based on average score and diversity of applicant pool.
  4. 100 candidates, 20 from each panel, were presented for discussion at the full selection committee meeting. 
  5. 60 were invited for an interview the week of July 20, 2020. 
  6. After the interview process, 41 candidates were recommended to the Co-Chairs.
  7. Co-Chairs selected 21 to recommend to Mayor and County Executive.
  8. Mayor and County Executive selected and appointed final 13.

The Commissioners were selected to reflect the diversity of the city and county and to carry out the duties set forth in the charge.

Diversity includes: race/ethnicity, age, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, geography (city, suburb, rural; eastside/westside), educational attainment, profession, lived experience, knowledge base, length of residency in Monroe County, country of origin, level of community involvement, political affiliation.

Vigorous conversations were had, and difficult decisions were made, in order to reach consensus and allow for this level of diversity. We appreciate everyone who took the time to complete the application process and the work of the selection committee in selecting commissioners.

If you would like to participate in one of the Working Groups, please click below.

Complete Working Group Survey

Selection Committee Members

  • Imam Hanif Abdul-Wahid, New Africa Cultural Center
  • Senior Chaplain Olivene Adams, Take It Down Planning Committee
  • Melinda Andolina, Chair of the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle
  • Johnita Anthony, Brighton resident
  • Marlene Cortes, Co-Chair for Monroe County Language Access Coalition
  • Sheila A. Gaddis, Esq., Barclay Damon LLP
  • Trelawney Jenkins, City resident
  • Matt Liston, MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Miguel Melendez, Chief Community Engagement Officer, Ibero
  • Gladys Pedraza-Burgos, VP Early Childhood Services at Action for a Better Community
  • Victoria Robertson, City School parent advocate
  • Hank Rubin, PhD: Founding Director, Frederick Douglass Center for Collaborative Leadership (a program of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives)
  • Paul Stella - Sinclair Broadcast Group (WHAM-TV & WUHF-TV)
  • Wallace Foster Smith IV, Senior, Buffalo State College
  • Tiana Flynn Stephens, City of Rochester resident