For Immediate Release - September 23, 2015

Chairwoman Jamie R. Williamson Speaks at Pittsfield Human Rights Commission Meeting

The Pittsfield Human Rights Commission welcomed Jamie R. Williamson, Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), as the featured speaker at a special meeting on Thursday, September 10, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Chairwoman Williamson discussed civil rights protections and services provided by MCAD and ways to access these services and resources.  Williamson, who was first appointed a commissioner of the MCAD by Governor Deval Patrick in August 2010, oversaw the Springfield Office on issues related to administration, adjudication, and education of civil rights matters for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2014, she was appointed Chairwoman of the commission.

“We here in Pittsfield are extremely proud of Jamie Williamson. She has become a prominent civil rights leader throughout the Commonwealth, and indeed, throughout New England. The Human Rights Commission is honored that she is coming to speak with us,” said Cecilia Rock, chairwoman of the Pittsfield commission. For eight years prior to joining the MCAD, Williamson served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, a private non-profit organization serving central and western Massachusetts.  Williamson, a former resident of Pittsfield, has extensive knowledge in civil affairs and civil rights.  In 1995, she was elected an at-large councilor to the Pittsfield City Council, becoming the first African American woman to serve on the council and the first African American to serve at large.  In addition to this role, Williamson served on several local boards including the Red Cross, Berkshire Medical Center, the Rotary Club of Pittsfield and the Norman Rockwell Museum.

At the meeting, Williamson discussed the principal areas of concern for her commission: ensuring fair and equal access to "employment, housing, public accommodations, access to credit and education," and investigating complaints filed by those who feel their rights have been violated.