Advisory Human Relations Council


  • The AHRC meets on a quarterly basis.
  • Next meeting: to be determined
  • Location: City Hall, 166 Lincolnway, Valparaiso

Additional Information

Appointed Members

  • Michael Bendicsen, Vice-Chair
  • Ellen DeMartinis
  • Jerome Ezell
  • Patrick Lyp
  • Laurie Mullet
  • Mitch Peters, Chair
  • Katrina Spence-Smock
  • Roy Summerville
  • Jennifer Wright
  • Andrew McIntyre, Police Chief

About the AHRC

Mission: The Advisory Human Relations Council advances and supports community inclusion. 

Vision: We envision Valparaiso as a welcoming community where diversity is appreciated and viewed as a strength.

Values: Learn from the past; build a better future. Respect differences and similarities. Support empowerment. Encourage unity. Share responsibility.

The Advisory Human Relations Council (AHRC) was established by the Mayor in August 2008 for the purpose of “providing counsel and assistance to the Mayor in [several areas],” including (1) advising the Mayor on the status of human relations in the city and identifying special needs or opportunities to enhance such relations, (2) acting as a resource to the Mayor when racially or ethnically motivated incidents occur, (3) suggesting and promoting events designed to promote a better understanding of minorities and improve the human relations of residents of the City, and (4) serving as a liaison between the Mayor’s office and minority groups. 

In the judgment of the AHRC, the most effective way to make all residents of Valparaiso feel welcome and believe they have an equal opportunity to participate fully in the community is through the strong leadership of the City and its officials, including City-sponsored opportunities for residents to engage in open, civil discussion of human relations. Barriers to equal opportunity include not only intentional discrimination, including harassment, based on characteristics such as race, color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, but also unconscious bias that results from acting on the basis of stereotypes rather than individual merit. 

The role of the AHRC is primarily advisory, making recommendations to City officials designed to assist them in fulfilling their leadership role in making the City a place where people are not disadvantaged because of the characteristics referred to above. In order to serve effectively in its advisory role, the AHRC will attempt to identify specific barriers to equal opportunity and ways to address such barriers, serve as a voice on behalf of those members of the community who believe they are disadvantaged because of their membership in a historically disadvantaged group, and seek to inform the community through communication about the benefits of diversity and the harm of exclusion.

 Additional Information and Resources

Community Spotlight Presentations

The Advisory Human Relations Council hosts Community Spotlight presentations at its regular meetings.  View the videos below to learn more about local resources and organizations working to serve the Valparaiso community!

Community Spotlight Presentations