Advocate, educate, intake, outreach


Marci Pina-Christian Executive Director
Martin Bentz Chairperson
Deloris Joseph Vice-Chair
Chad Freitas Secretary
Jeff Costa Commissioner
(Vacant) Commissioner
Michael Mello Commissioner
Sidney Murray II Commissioner



If you would like to come before the commission or contact the commission, you can email or call the office at 508-979-1464.

Section 2-130 of the City Code: established 10/26/67.

Consists of nine members, each of whom shall reside or be employed in the City of New Bedford. Commission members shall serve without compensation and shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council for THREE YEAR TERMS.

Our Mission

The mission of the Human Relations Commission is to;

  • Advocate for the human and civil rights of all residents of the City of New Bedford
  • Educate the public about their rights and create greater awareness of human rights issues
  • Intake, mediate, or refer complaints of human rights violations
  • Outreach – Work with public and private organizations to increase compliance with local state and federal laws and raise the level of awareness and sensitivity to human and civil rights issues

Human Rights Commission Pamphlet


To promote mutual understanding and respect among all citizens of the city and to assure equal opportunity for all, through education, research and investigation, and collaboration. To aid and assist in the enforcement of Mass General Laws Chapter 151B and 151 C sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272 and section32 of Chapter 121B


contact us

Are you a victim of discrimination? We want to hear from you.

Contact: Marcelina Pina-Christian, Program Director & Executive Director of Human Rights Commission
Address: 181 Hillman Street (Bldg. #9) | Hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30-5:30
Phone: 508-979-1464 | Fax: 508-991-6262
E-mail: Marcelina.Pina-Christian@newbedford-ma.gov

Submit a complaint

HRC Complaint Form (English)
HRC Complaint Form (Spanish)
HRC Complaint Form (Portuguese)



Human Rights Commission Black History Month Statement – Feb. 15, 2024

The Standard Times – New Bedford Human Rights Commission wants to sustain human rights culture into the future – Dec. 12, 2023
SOUTHCOAST TODAY – New Bedford residents gather to combat hate speech following neo-Nazi group foray – Nov. 3, 2023
U.S. Dept. of Justice Community Relations Specialist – Helping Communities Prevent and Respond and Hate Crimes
Statement from Gov. Healey on the death of Tyre Nichols – Jan. 27, 2023
“End Hate Now” Hotline for Reporting Acts of Hate. – Aug. 3, 2022


In memory of William (Bill) Do Carmo.  Civil Rights Activist, Entrepreneur, Community Leader, Philanthropist, Mentor and more.


September 11, 1929- April 20, 2024



“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

On behalf of the Human Rights Commission, we salute Bill Do Carmo as a trailblazer for civil rights. One who made the difference in the quality of life for many, a tireless voice for change. William Do Carmo is the longest serving member of the Human Rights Commission and was a principle in the formation of it, within the City of New Bedford. A champion and voice for affordable housing, and employment opportunities in civil service jobs during the 60’s.  Jobs that would lead to career opportunities that would change the lives of families for generations.  Bill was one of the most effective leaders of the local branch of the NAACP and was instrumental in obtaining and constructing the building which remains today. William Do Carmo understood that change comes from working with both sides of the aisle and he worked effectively with all of the Mayors of New Bedford in his lifetime. He was a mentor to many leaders of the city over the years. Thank you Mr William Do Carmo for standing tall among men.

Marcelina Pina-Christian
New Bedford Human Rights Commission
Executive Director



~ H.R.C. Cultural Calendar 2024

Cultural Calendar addition

~ NBHS Jazz Juneteenth Freedom Day Event 



calligraphy-fontsClick here to watch program
















Click here to watch the program 


Mercy Meals & More 

Mercy Meals was founded in 2010 on Purchase Street by members and pastors of Pilgrim United Church of Christ. The mission was started to address food insecurity and other needs among low income and homeless people in the area by providing a breakfast meal site to supplement other community lunch and dinner meals sites.
Guests are treated with dignity and respect in a healthy atmosphere that promotes networks of friendships, strong community and spiritual, mental and physical health.

Free breakfast provided Monday through Saturday each week with the help of 15 rotating volunteers, serving 50 to 60 community members per day. The Sole Foot Clinic happens each Thursday morning providing  foot evaluations, foot care, height/weight assessments and vital sign checks. Shoes are also offered, along with clothing.



Justina Perry 

Justina is a lifelong New Bedford resident, Doctor of Physical Therapy and owner of Oshun Physical Therapy & Pelvic Health; a graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BS in Kinesiology and earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Simmons University.

Justina is the founder and director of BuyBlackNB which is an online platform dedicated to highlighting, discovering, and promoting Black-owned businesses in Southcoast Massachusetts.

Since its inception in June 2020 Buy Black NB has been:
Connecting consumers with 200 local Black-owned businesses; Hosted adult and youth vendor market events celebrating Black culture; Curated all occasion gift guides highlighting diverse, locally-made goods; Hosted a HERstory series amplifying the voices of Black women in business; Fundraised for local organizations and connected business owners with  opportunities as they arise including original blog content & spotlight features.


Xavier Echevarria Mojica 

“Dear, Ms. Poyant, Mr. Ferreira and Ms. Colson

Puerto Rico needs GLCPS’s help. Hurricane Fiona has struck and destroyed buildings and wiped out the power grid for most of Puerto Rico’s residents. Furthermore, they don’t have clean water and access to food. Therefore, various groups in Puerto Rico are asking for donations.
I would like to ask your help in organizing a first aid drive to help Puerto Rico recover. I would like to organize a box in the main office and ask students to bring in donations like canned food, clean water, batteries, first aid kits, solar lamps, adult and baby diapers, soap, toothpaste, shampoo and water purification tablets. (Bottle waters might be too heavy or expensive to send). Thank you for reading my email and considering helping me with this important project for Fiona survivors.  Best regards, – Xavier (grade 9)”
Xavier presented to the GLCPS student council who held a raffle fundraiser. In addition, for a $1 donation, students had a “Wear your cultural pride on your shirt day.” Xavier’s efforts raised $370.00.




Thanks to all who participated in the New Bedford Human Relations Commission Survey in August 2020. The link provided is the results of the survey. For more information on the survey contact the Human Relations Commission office at 508-979-1464.

A Message on Welcoming & Ukraine

“Dear welcomers,

Our thoughts today are with the people of Ukraine, and all those whose lives are uprooted because of the ever- present forces in our world that believe that domination — rather than democracy — is the path forward.

As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors from Europe, and as the spouse of a survivor of the war that broke up the former Yugoslavia, and as the leader of an organization focused keenly on this issues, I know all too well that authoritarianism on the continent is not a new threat.

On every continent, refugees and other victims of scapegoating and racism are being used as pawns to enable graft, corruption, and power in the hands of the few, rather than the many. This is a story as old as time, and also one we have the power to change.

My greatest hope in this moment is that we not only show generosity and compassion toward the suffering of Ukrainians, but open our eyes to recognize this pattern in the displacement of people around the globe, stripping them of basic rights. This, in turn, creates yet another cycle of “us” and “them,” reinforcing historical foundations of genocide, racism, and exclusion that pit one group against another, or perpetuate notions of white supremacy.

What restores my faith that this is possible is the growing consciousness of and work to address this pattern at its narrative foundation, along with the rise of people-driven social movements that will once again play their part in bolstering democratic norms.

At their nexus is the leadership of welcoming communities, working actively to envision a different future and create the conditions now for belonging, well-being, and basic human rights for every person — no matter where we’ve come from. Now is the time to resist “chaos” narratives and reinforce the strength and capacity of our communities to extend our welcoming values abundantly, not only to Ukrainians, but other immigrant populations, and to anyone who may be feeling unsettled or unsafe.

Now is the time to remind our communities that safety is rooted in coming together across race and national origin to demonstrate that democracy, whether in our own backyard, or around the globe, is the way forward.

It is also a time to remember that every single person fleeing conflict has the right to seek safety in other countries and is entitled to protection without discrimination. 

Please as well as to reach out if there are other ways we can support you as a community — striving, together, to be beacons of hope for so many in this difficult moment.”

The New Bedford Human Rights Commission is not affiliated with “Welcoming America” but supports the sentiments in this message since we are also deeply concerned about the people and the situation in Ukraine.



Additional resources: