Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

SF Human Rights Commission announces new director

Mayor Ed Lee swears in Sheryl Evans Davis. Photo: San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Mayor Ed Lee swears in Sheryl Evans Davis. Photo: San Francisco Human Rights Commission

San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission on Wednesday announced that Sheryl Evans Davis is its new executive director.

Davis, who identifies as a straight woman of color, replaces Theresa Sparks, the transgender woman who is now serving as Mayor Ed Lee’s senior adviser on trans initiatives.

“I am honored by this appointment and thankful to Mayor Lee and the commission for the opportunity to do the work that I love and in the city where I live and have raised my family,” Davis, who’s been on the commission since 2012 and most recently served as its vice president, said in a news release. “I look forward to continuing to work with community stakeholders, building on relationships established over the years. I am excited to create new civic partnerships focused on supporting disenfranchised communities to thrive, be seen and be heard. I consider this an opportunity to continue my work in public service and one that allows me to advocate for at risk communities by creating pathways and access toward achieving socio-economic sustainability.”

The HRC, established in 1964, works to increase equality, eliminate discrimination, and protect people’s human rights. Among other responsibilities, it oversees the enforcement of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinances. The commission includes an LGBT Advisory Committee, which in recent years has addressed economic wellness and other issues.

Davis previously founded the MO’ Magic Collaborative, which works on creating opportunities and improving outcomes for marginalized youth in San Francisco. Among other achievements, she also developed out-of- school programs for youth in the Western Addition neighborhood and served as a legislative aide for former District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who went on to serve a term as the city’s sheriff.

As HRC’s executive director, Davis plans to continue working with the “Black to the Future” initiative, a city-supported effort to improve quality of life for underserved communities and youth. She’ll also lead the city’s Engineering for Equity work, which is meant to address issues of fairness.

Lee swore in Davis September 8. HRC spokesman David Miree said in response to an emailed question that her salary would be the same as Sparks’, which was about $180,000.

HRC Chair Susan Christian stated, “Sheryl Davis has an exemplary background as a leader and facilitator of change. Ms. Davis’ long-term work ensuring that the historically underserved have a voice is commendable and serves as a testament to the wisdom of her appointment first as a commissioner and now executive director. … I and the rest of her colleagues on the commission are thrilled and tremendously excited to work with Ms. Davis on these endeavors.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 2, 2016 @ 4:20 pm PST
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