At its Jan. 24, 2023, meeting, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission elected Roger Lusala as Chair and Sylvia Jons as Vice Chair. Lusala has served on the commission since 2021 and Jons since 2022.
Lusala has volunteered as a soccer coach with the Iowa City Kickers Soccer Club for more than 20 years. Lusala is a member of the Iowa City Noon Rotary, City High Booster Club, the Iowa Association of Community Providers, and the Johnson County Community Providers Group. He currently serves as the President/CEO of Mayor's Youth Empowerment Program (MYEP), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing advocacy and person-centered services which facilitate personal growth and community inclusion for people with disabilities. Lusala, a lifetime educator, cites as one of his passions educating the public on human rights issues, including developing and providing trainings on cultural diversity, communication across cultures, LGBTQ advocacy and disability issues. Lusala is a strong proponent of working with others to address racial and social justice issues and eliminate unlawful discrimination.
Jons is currently in the University of Iowa’s Executive MBA Program, and is an Entrepreneur in the Winter 2023 cohort of the Builders and Backers Idea Accelerator Program. She brings to this position experience in the global academic diplomacy and partnerships sector including leading strategic and sustainable partnership programs out of IIE’s (Institute of International Education) Center for International Partnerships, building global networks (Global E3, Generation Study Abroad), designing and administering Fellowship and Scholarship programs (Global Fulbright Program, IIE Centennial Fellowship, and many more), and overseeing Middle East Peace Prize initiatives. She has significant experience creating programs, activities, conferences, and initiatives designed to engage, amplify, and build mutual understanding.
The Commission consists of nine members. Duties of the Commission include disseminating information; educating the public on illegal discrimination and civil rights; and planning and conducting programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and other intergroup tensions. Current members are Suyun Channon, Ahmed Ismail, Doug Kollasch, Badri Kuku, Bijou Maliabo, Jahnavi Pandya, and Kelsey Paul Shantz.
To learn more about the commission and its work, visit https://www.icgov.org/city-government/boards/human-rights-commission.