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Suffolk County Human Rights Commission

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LYNDA PERDOMO-AYALA, LMSW, CLC., CHAIR, was appointed to the Commission in 2002 and was elected Vice-Chair in 2003.  In 2019, Lynda was sworn in as the Chair and has since focused on Police Reform and Reinvention since the killing of George Floyd, as well as Fair Housing and Diversity on Long Island, and the continued development of the Suffolk County Interfaith Anti-Bias Task Force together with a Junior Human Rights Commission. She is a graduate of Adelphi University, the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University, holds a certification in conflict resolution from Cornell University, and is a Certified Life Coach. Ms. Perdomo-Ayala is the Administrative Department Head for the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Stony Brook University – Renaissance School of Medicine. At Stony Brook, she serves as the advisor to the Latin American Student Organization; is a member and Chair of the advisory board of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center; is a member of the Multicultural Women's Alliance; and serves as a member of various committees dedicated to the diversity, equity and inclusion of faculty, staff and students.

Lynda has received many distinguished honors in the community for her work, too many to include in this bio, but here are some highlights.  In 1997, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women in special recognition awarded Lynda the National Outstanding Service Award for her dedication and contributions to the organization locally and nationally.  In 1998, NACOPRW named her Woman of the Year for her work in the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Community along with numerous other honors.  She was a recipient of the Outstanding Service and Community Commitment by the Bethel AME Church of Setauket, 1999. Lynda was honored as the "Woman of Distinction Award" by Union de Mujer Americana in Ponce, Puerto Rico.  She received numerous additional awards, including Chancellor's award for Excellence in Diversity and Affirmative Action, 2001; Distinguished Alumni for University Service, Stony Brook University, 2002;  New York State Social Worker of the Month , March 2004;  Bank of America, Local Hero Award, 2006; Woman of the Year, Zonta International Club of Suffolk, 2006; Distinguished Social Worker, National Association of Social Workers, Latino Social Work Task Force, 2007; First Caribbean Award of the Top 50 Latino Leader on Long Island, 2009; and Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction Award, 2011.

In 2012, the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS) honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication and work in procuring their current building and she remains an advocate.  In 2013, she was the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Professional Service for the academic year 2012-2013.  This award has a rigorous selection criterion that ensures that it is given only to those professional service staff who have consistently demonstrated superlative performance within and beyond their position.  Shortly thereafter she was recognized as one of the "Outstanding Women in the Town of Brookhaven".  In 2017, State Senator Phil Boyle honored Lynda for her efforts in the Latino community in Suffolk County; and the Suffolk County Women's Advisory Board and the Suffolk Legislature honored her as the 2018 Woman of Distinction County-wide for her work and being a role model. Ms. Perdomo-Ayala has been a concerned activist addressing civic and social problems and a sought after speaker on Hispanic/Latinx issues and their communities.  She continues to be motivated and encouraged by the need to improve the quality of life and well-being of many diverse populations, particularly women and youth.    Due to her activism she was profiled in a project entitled "Politicos con Sabor," a documentary filmed for El Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños and Public Broadcast System (PBS). In 2020, she was named one of the 100 most influential people on Long Island.  Shortly thereafter, she was selected as a 2021 Fellow of the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute, an honor bestowed on nominated employees selected from 64 campuses of which only 11 were chosen.

AUGUSTUS G. MANTIA, M.D., appointed in 1998 to the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Family Practice, and Psychiatry at Stony Brook University. Dr. Mantia had his own practice in Smithtown which served the community for over 30 years. He is a strong advocate of equality within the healthcare system. In 2005, Dr. Mantia, in conjunction with Stony Brook University and the First Baptism Church in Riverhead, received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg foundation for Project Care, a program to develop computer home monitoring for chronic medical conditions. Dr. Mantia was also appointment to the N.Y. State Department of Health’s Medicaid Advisory Committee by the N.Y. State Senate and Governor George Pataki. Dr. Mantia volunteers his time to serve his community as the Hauppauge Volunteer Fire Department’s Surgeon, who oversees all medical response and protocols for the Emergency Medical Response Teams and defibrillator programs. In July 2008, Dr. Mantia was appointment as a Deputy Fire Coordinator-Medical Doctor for the County of Suffolk. Also in 2008 he was selected for appointment to the position of Critical Incident Police Surgeon for the Suffolk County Police Department. His appointment followed successful completion of critical training in FEMA Incident Management, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Police Department field operations and protocols, and certification as a Field Physician by the Suffolk County Department of Health Division of EMS. Dr. Mantia has been acknowledged as a “hometown Humanitarian” by the Suffolk County Legislature and was named the 2012 Physician of Excellence by the Suffolk Regional Emergency Medical Services Council. Dr. Mantia serves as a Chair of the Health Committee as well as chair of the Commission’s Housing Committee. 

Elizabeth Bojsza, Elizabeth Bojsza is passionate about community engagement, empowering voices, and asking good questions. For many years, Elizabeth worked in community performance theatre as a dramaturg and director-- collaborating with communities in the south and northeast to tell their stories and foster dialogue.  She also worked professionally as a literary manager, running the Young Playwrights Inc. national playwriting competition from 2008-2013. Elizabeth is currently a facilitator and curriculum designer for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where she serves as graduate program director and assistant professor of practice. She finds the skills of analysis and feedback she honed as a theatre artist directly applicable to facilitating experiential learning for scientists and medical professionals, and pulls from her over 17 years of academic and professional teaching and teaching mentorship to create powerful learning experiences for Alda Center workshop participants and students. As a commissioner, Elizabeth is working to strengthen the SCHRC’s relationship to the youth in our communities and currently serves on the Education Committee.

MICHELLE BONNIE CANNON was appointed to the Commission in September, 2012. A graduate of Howard University, Ms. Cannon is the Executive Director of the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center. She has served as Director since 2007. She also served a six-year term as Trustee on the Southampton Village Board. She was the first African-American elected as Trustee in the Village of Southampton. Ms. Cannon is active in the community and has served on several community and civic boards. She currently serves as chairperson on the Town of Southampton Housing Authority Board. She also is a member The League of Women Voters,  NAACP (Eastern Long Island Branch), and Jack & Jill of America (Suffolk County Branch).

BROOKE ELLISON, President and Founder, Brooke Ellison Leadership and Inclusion Strategies, LLC. Dr. Ellison has lived with a physical disability for 30 years. In these decades, Dr. Ellison has understood firsthand the challenges and social deficits that disability can create but, also, how these challenges and deficits can be alleviated through technological innovation, social supports, and policy measures. In fact, as Dr. Ellison conveys in presentations, speeches, and workshops, as well as in her writings, it is purely because of these factors that Dr. Ellison has been able to maximize her protection and provide guidance to organizations and individuals working to pave a stronger path forward to the future for people with disabilities. Dr. Ellison has given speeches and presentations on hope, resilience, disability, leadership, and inclusion to audiences of all kinds around the world, including:

  • American Telemedicine Association. Panel discussion on Inclusive Innovation in Telehealth. Panel speaker and Conference Organizer.
  • Rick Hansen Foundation, Vancouver, Canada. Presentation on international leadership in accessibility and disability.
  • Adaptive Leadership Network Conference, Washington DC. Presentation on social equity and inclusion.
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research, Boston Massachusetts.. Presentation on Stem Cell Research and Social Justice.
  • Adaptive Leadership Conference. Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Presentation on leadership in stem cell research and nonprofit work.
  • World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos Switzerland. Panel discussion on ethics of emerging technologies: Headlines and Redlines.
  • Summit of the Young Global Leaders, Into the Light presentation and discussion
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research 12th Annual Meeting. Poster presenter
  • Shanghai, China International Workshop on Stem Cell Differentiation: The Influence of Biomaterials and Biomechanics. Ethics panel presenter
  • United Nations, FDR International Disabilities Award Princess of Thailand Introduction

Dr. Ellison’s work in disability, resilience, inclusion, and leadership has been crystallized in:

  • New York Civil Liberties Union Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee
  • Suffolk County Human Rights Commission
  • Microsoft Mobility Task Force
  • New York State Ridesharing Accessibility Task Force
  • Stony Brook University Diversity Ambassadors
  • National Organization on Disability

Brooke Ellison, PhD is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University, and Director of Education and Ethics at the Stony Brook Stem Cell Facility. Dr. Ellison received her undergraduate degree in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University in 2000, followed by her Master Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2004. After running for New York State Senate in 2006, Dr. Ellison completed her PhD in Sociology from Stony Brook University in 2012. A policy and ethics expert in stem cell research for over 15 years, Brooke has been committed to changing the perception of life-saving science. From 2007-2014, Brooke served on the Empire State Stem Cell Board, which designed New York State’s stem cell policy.

As a faculty member at Stony Brook University, Brooke cofounded the organization, VENTure Think Tank, to provide policy and technological solutions for ventilator users. Brooke also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, to empower underserved communities. As a result of her work in the stem cell field, in 2011, Dr. Ellison was granted an honorary degree from Rutgers University, and, in 2014, was chosen to be a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a position through which she works to elevate the importance of stem cell research as well as tackle challenges experienced by people with disabilities. In 2017, Brooke was chosen to serve on the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. In 2018, Brooke was chosen to be a Truman National Security Project Political Partner.

At age 11, Brooke was in an accident that left her paralyzed from her neck down and dependent on a ventilator. The experiences she has undergone since that time have served as the basis of the work in which she has been involved as well as the causes she has embraced. In 2002, Brooke published a memoir, Miracles Happen, which was made into a movie, The Brooke Ellison Story, directed by Christopher Reeve.

BEENA KOTHARI, Having lived on Long Island for over twenty three plus years, her association, interactions, and contributions with members of the Indian and American communities has been valuable and memorable. Her many accomplishments with various nonprofit organizations have occurred over a long period including various leadership capacities as Iali President 2016, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Executive Member, and Chair of several ad-hoc committees, India day Parade Chair 2015 and 2016.

She takes pride in serving in leadership positions with many social, non-profit organizations such as Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA) (Board of Director, Treasurer), Jain Center of America (JCA), Jain Samaj of Long Island (JSLI) (Board of Director), Gayatri Pariwar of Long Island (GPLI) (volunteered teaching Hindi and vedic math), Long Island Multi Faith Forum (LIMFF), India Day Parade (IDP), India Association of Long Island (IALI) (only broad-based community organization in Long Island operating since 1976), Suffolk County Indian Committee and hascontributed tremendously to their success and fundraising, including many international conventions.

During her professional career with Real Estate, Sony, Time Warner, JP Morgan Chase, and IBM as Global IT Team Manager, she has won many service “Gold Stars” taking a lead role in promoting and practicing the great Indian values of ‘Unity and Harmony among Diversity with Respect’ which is important and close to her heart and hopefully to all. She firmly believes that she can extend those values throughout the community and thereby strengthen it by bringing us all closer together for the longer-term.

Her goal is to focus on ‘Young and Women’s Empowerment with Leadership’ which she believes is essential for the betterment of the Indian-American community.

Her involvement includes:

  • Chair of India Day Parade- 2015 and 2016
  • President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Executive Member, and Chair of several ad-hoc committees since 1998
  • Chair of Cultural and Newsletter Committees
  • Volunteered in Thanksgiving, Diwali (festival of lights), Christmas and Food Drives for the homeless
  • Chair of India fest (10,000 people attended and 52 vendors participated)
  • Volunteered with Senior Citizen Committee
  • Volunteered with Women Forum

GARY R. MAR, PH.D., appointed to the Commission in 2005, is a Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, where he teaches logic, philosophy of mathematics, analytic philosophy, philosophy of religion, linguistics, and Asian American studies.  Founder and director of the Asian American Center, he was a catalyst for the Charles B. Wang Asian American Center at SBU, which was established, at that time, with the largest private donation in the history of the public education system in NY State. Dr. Mar has been an advocate for Asian American studies at Stony Brook University and serves on a number of community organizations, including being a member of the advisory board of the Council for Prejudice Reduction and a Vice Chair of the Community Advisory Board for Public Television Stations WNET13/WLIW21/NJTV.  Dr. Mar was also the founding president of the Asian American Faculty Staff Association and chaired the American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on the status of Asian and Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies. He has been a recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award from the Alumni Association at Stony Brook, the President’s and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from SUNY, and the Pew Foundation Scholar’s Fellowship. In 2005, he was honored with a Civil Advocacy Achievement Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, Long Island.  He has administered grants to conduct workshops on hate crimes from the Allstate Foundation and the Organization of Chinese Americans, an Asian American civil rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Dr. Mar chairs the Commission’s Education Committee and is also a member of the Immigration Committee.

CAROLYN G. PEABODY, PH. D., L.C.S.W., A.C.S.W., is Assistant Dean for East End Initiatives and Clinical Associate Professor at the School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University. Dr. Peabody earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Fordham University in 1978, her Master of Social Work Degree from Stony Brook University in 1986 and her Doctorate in Sociology from Stony Brook University in 1998. She was appointed to the Commission in 1997 and is the Commission’s liaison to the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force. Throughout her career, Dr. Peabody has worked to fight inequality and to support the empowerment of disenfranchised, stigmatized and oppressed individuals and communities. As a graduate student, she did her internship with the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission and the Sayville Project, an advocacy/empowerment community based program that assists people who have been involved in the public mental health system. Dr. Peabody was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health Traineeship and Clinical Training Fellowship which supported her work training and developing an advocacy/empowerment practice curriculum for graduate social work students working in the public mental health system. Dr. Peabody joined the faculty of Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare in 1989. Since that time, Dr. Peabody has chaired and served on many committees and working groups charged with working for human and civil rights. For example, she served as the advisor to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Social Worker Caucus, she co-chaired the Suffolk County and NYS NASW Lesbian & Gay Issues Committee, cochaired the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Faculty Staff Network and served on the Steering Committee for the President Clinton’s Initiative on Race at Stony Brook. She served on the University President’s Advisory Council on Diversity. Dr. Peabody also has served in various leadership capacities with community-based anti-bias organizations. She has served as chair and Vice-Chair the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force and as Co-Chair of the Administration of Justice Committee of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. In addition, Dr. Peabody has maintained a psychotherapy practice for the last 15 years, working predominantly with women and lesbians. She lives with Diane, her partner and recent spouse of 26 years in Orient Point, NY. She has 2 stepsons, David, a social work administrator with a large agency serving the greater New York area and Eric, a paralegal, part-time film maker and film festival organizer.

HAFIZ UR REHMAN, MD FAAP was appointed to the Commission by County Executive Steve Bellone in 2012. Dr. Rehman is a Pediatrician in Bay Shore and a senior Attending in the Dept. of Pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center and Southside Hospital. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine at Hofstra University and is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the New York Institute of Technology NYCOM School of Medicine. Dr. Rehman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a Past President of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) and the past Chairman of IMANA's Board of Regents. He has also served as the Chairman of IMANA RELIEF and continues to be a Member of that Committee. Dr. Rehman is a past President of Masjid Darul Quran - The Muslim Center of Long Island (the largest Mosque on Long Island) and presently, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mosque. He has been a past President of the Islamic Association of Long Island - the Selden Mosque. Dr. Rehman is a Member of the Suffolk County Inter-faith Anti-Bias Task Force and the Town of Islip Anti-Bias Task Force. He is a member of the Bay Shore Interfaith Council, and an Honorary Board Member of the Suffolk County Coalition against Domestic Violence. Dr. Rehman was a recipient of the Suffolk County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Public Service Award. He also has received Suffolk County Community College's Salute to Excellence Community Service Award. In 2012, he was awarded the Ghandi Award by the Shanti Fund. Dr. Rehman has also received the Bharat Guruv "Pride of India" Award. Dr. Rehman was also appointed to the American Muslim Advisory Board to the County Executive as well as the Public Advisory Board to the Suffolk County Commissioner of Police. Dr. Rehman serves as a Board Member of FOF Relief and Education with relief activities in Asia and Africa. He is also on the Board of the Muslim Foundation of America. Dr. Rehman believes that "The enjoyment of Human Rights is not exclusively for any select people or race BUT for all the Human beings who inhabit the planet. I see a basic goodness in each and every person that encourages me to work forthem."

LUIS E. RODRIGUEZ, ESQ., is a partner at the law offices of Goldstein & Rodriguez, LLP since 2007. He earned a B.S. in Accounting from S.U.N.Y. College at Old Westbury in the year 2000. He received his Juris Doctor from Touro Law in 2005. He is a Member of the Nassau Lawyers Association, Nassau County Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association.

LUIS VALENZUELA, PH.D. was appointed to the Commission in 2012. He has over 25 years of experience as an advocate in non-profit organizations. He is currently employed by the Healthcare Education Project of the Greater New York Hospital Association & 1199 SEIU. In his capacity as a Healthcare Advocate, Luis works to improve healthcare in New York State through education, grassroots organizing and coalition-building. As a Clinical Associate Professor at the School of Social Welfare SUNY Stony Brook, Dr. Valenzuela helps to prepare new social work professionals. In his role as the Executive Director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance (LIIA), Dr. Valenzuela has worked with an alliance of some 50 charitable, religious, labor, civil rights and immigrant organizations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties that are concerned with ensuring that Long Island provides a welcoming environment for immigrants and invites their involvement in the cultural, socio-economic and political life of their community.  He presently serves on the Suffolk County Police Commissioner's Advisory Board and on the Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission. Dr. Valenzuela has served as Vice Chair of the New York Immigration Coalition and past President of the National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers (NAPRHSW). He is active in many community organizations including: The Long Island Council of Churches,  NASW (National Association of Social Workers), Jobs With Justice LI, The Latino Jewish Coalition, Long Island WINS, SUNY Stony Brook President’s Multicultural Advisory Board, The Health & Welfare Council, Community Advocates, Molloy College President's Multicultural Advisory, The Long Island Organizing Network (LION), College of Advisors for Erase Racism, and the Nassau Suffolk Hispanic Legislative Task Force. Over the years, Dr. Valenzuela has received recognition from many prestigious organizations, as well as local and state government and congressional recognition for his service to the community. Dr. Valenzuela completed his social work studies at SUNY Stony Brook School of Social Welfare and at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services. Dr. Valenzuela is also a graduate of the Energeia Partnership Regional Stewards Leadership Program, and a CORO Leadership Fellow. Dr. Valenzuela enjoys spending time with his wife Deborah, his adult children and grandchildren.

DIONNE WALKER-BELGRAVE, Ed.D. , CCDP/AP, was appointed as a member of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission in 2011 and serves on the Commission’s Anti Bias Task Force and its Housing, Administration of Justice, and Employment Committees. Dr. Walker-Belgrave was one of the first professionals to receive a Diversity Certification CCDP/AP from Cornell, and holds a Management Development Certificate from Harvard University; a B.S. in Business from SUNY New Paltz; an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Adelphi University; and an Ed.D. from Dowling College. An advocate of social justice, Dr. Walker-Belgrave is the Affirmative Action Officer at Suffolk County Community College-the largest Community College in the State University System of New York. She also serves as a consultant, conducting training seminars and lectures locally and abroad on Global Diversity, Affirmative Action, Financial Aid, College Admissions, and Scholarships. Dr. Walker-Belgrave has taken leadership roles in various mentoring programs, community-based organizations, and educational initiatives. She is presently the Co-Chair of the Economic Development Committee and Corresponding secretary of the Suffolk County National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Dr. Walker-Belgrave has been an active member and supporter of various civic, cultural and educational organizations including, but not limited to, the American Association for Affirmative Action, New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association, Long Island Next Generation Housing Committee, Erase Racism, Jack and Jill of America Inc. (Suffolk County Branch), the Long Island Urban League, Pronto, The Long Island Organizing Network (LION), and the NAACP. She has served as Chair of New York State’s Regional Affirmative Action Officers, a representative for the Human Rights Commission on the Suffolk County African-American Advisory Board and she is a member and former Trustee of Living Hope Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, where she also worked as Christian Education leader and External Affairs Liaison. Dr. Walker-Belgrave was the recipient of the Long Island Urban League’s Trail Blazer Award and has been recognized by many area organizations for her dedication and leadership.

DR. YU-WAN WANG has more than twenty-five years of work experience that literally spans the globe. A product of China’s Cultural Revolution, she learned early about the importance of education and the need to take risks to satisfy intellectual desire. Dr. Wang holds a B.S. in Business Administration, a Masters of Library and Information Science, and an Ed.D. Dr. Wang, who was born in Northern China, gained corporate and academic experience in the United States and in Taiwan. Her corporate experience includes serving as an information coordinator for McKinsey & Co. There, she prioritized client services information requests from around the world. Later she went on to serve as a Consultant for the Taipei City government where she defined the role and direction of the International Commission, formulated strategic plans and directed international programs. After serving as the Director of a library in Pennsylvania, Dr. Wang became an Instructor at Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan. From 2002-2009 she was Director of International Student & Scholar Services at Dowling College. Currently, Dr. Wang is Associate Dean for International Admissions at Stony Brook University. Dr. Wang’s memberships and professional activities include a Fulbright Life Membership, Association of International Educators (NAFSA), Rotary International and Women’s International Network. She is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Woman of the Year award from the Islip Town Council.

RABBI LINA ZERBARINI has spent her rabbinic career sharing the Jewish message of b’tzelem elohim (everyone is in the image of the Eternal) and mission of tzedek, tzedek tirdof (justice, justice shall you pursue) with individuals and communities. As Rabbi of Kehillath Shalom Synagogue, she supports the mission of building a Community of Peace within and beyond the walls of the synagogue. Previously, she served as Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Sid Jacobson JCC, where she infused and animated the community with the richness and relevance of Jewish wisdom and tradition. As Associate Rabbi at Yale Hillel, she created domestic and international service-learning programs and as Director for Domestic Affairs and Rabbinic Consultant at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, she led the Jewish community's public policy advocacy initiatives and facilitated inter-group and inter-faith relationships.

Rabbi Lina is committed to building strong, safe, connected, community. A new Commissioner, she serves on the Administration of Justice and Housing Committee. She has served on the leadership of Boards of Rabbis in each community she has lived, and is Immediate Past President of the Long Island Board of Rabbis. She is Secretary of the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force and is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of Reconstructing Judaism.

A New Yorker born and bred, Rabbi Lina has three grown daughters, Sarah, Liora, and Yael, and is married to retired school psychologist Dinah Mark. They live with a menagerie of dogs and cats.

Commissioners Emeriti:

RABBI DR. STEVEN A. MOSS, was appointed to the Human Rights Commission in 1992. Rabbi Moss has served at the B'nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale as its spiritual leader since 1972. He was initially appointed Chairperson of the County’s Anti-Bias Task Force by former County Executive Patrick Halpin, and has been appointed Chair (and later Co-Chair) of the Task Force for each of the subsequent years by County Executives Robert Gaffney, Steve Levy and Steve Bellone. He serves as Chief of Chaplains for the Suffolk County Police Department, the Chiefs of Police Association, the Police Association, and serves as chaplain to many local hospitals and senior facilities. He received his undergraduate degree from New York University, and his graduate degrees and ordination from the Hebrew Union College in New York. He was the recipient of the District Attorney’s Distinguished Citizen Award, and Chaplain of the Year 1987 and Rabbi of the Year 2007 awards, given by the New York Board of Rabbis. In 2009, he received the Lehman-LaGuardia Award for Civic Achievement. In 2003, he was appointed to the Board of the Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity, and Human Understanding. He is the longest sitting member of the Islip Town Board of Ethics. He is Chair of the Islip Town Anti-Bias Task Force and Chair of the Suffolk Center for the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding.

RACHEL LEE DAVIS, appointed to the Commission in 1998, served as Vice Chair for over two years. She earned a B.S. Degree from Alcorn State University, Mississippi, an M.A. Degree, Secondary Education, from New York University; and holds NY State Certification in Health Education, Science, and Social Studies. Mrs. Davis has a record of service with the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, the Heart and Diabetes Associations, and the Uganda Children’s  “Tour of Light” which raises money for AIDS awareness. She is the Founding Vice Chair of The Witness Project L.I., Breast Cancer in African American Women, L.I. Cancer Care, and also a Trustee of SUNY’s Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., founder/first President of Eastern Shore, The Links, Inc.; co-founder/first President, Sigma Psi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; past board Chair of Benincasa Family Services, Inc., Amityville, N.Y.; a member of the NAACP; and founding officer of the Coalition of 100 Black Women Suffolk County. She has received numerous awards for leadership and humanitarian services, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Meritorious Service Award, First Baptist Church of Riverhead; “Paving the Way To Success”, A Leader Making A Difference, American Diabetes Association; Partners in Preaching Leadership, Sisters of St. Dominic, Amityville, N.Y.; Outstanding Woman in the Town of Babylon; Frederick Douglas Memorial Award, Islip Chapter L.I. Council of African American Republicans; the 2007 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award, and the National Outstanding Secondary Educators of America Award. She was elected 2007 trustee of Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; received the 2009 Suffolk County Republican Women’s Political Volunteer Award; and the 2010 New York State Senate’s Woman of Distinction Award. Mrs. Davis is an active member of St. Mary’s Church in Amityville, and is a member of the Commission’s Housing, Education, and Health Committees.

MICHELE T. DEL MONTE was reappointed to the Commission in April 2002, having previously served from 1993 to 1997. After decades long service to the Commission, Ms. Del Monte’s final term concluded in May 2020. Ms. Del Monte’s background, training and experience are in public policy, health sciences, education and human services – including advocacy on aging, disability, health, housing and poverty issues. She has served on the Board of the Middle Country Library Foundation, Renewal Resources Board, and the Long Island Task Force on Literacy. In 2006, working with other advocates, helped establish a Network of Women with Disabilities to increase access to health care through print material, health literacy, and physical accessibility to health providers’ offices. Ms. Del Monte is an active member of the Commission’s Awards, Education, Family, Women and Children’s Human Rights, Health, Housing, Immigration and Junior Human Rights Committees, and chairs the Employment Committee. Ms. Del Monte is a past member of the Insurance Committee of the Suffolk County Minority Health Action Coalition; the Diversity Committee of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals of LI; and, the Suffolk County Women’s Advisory Council. Ms. Del Monte is a member of the Community Leaders Advisory Committee of the Stony Brook University Medical Center, and the President’s Multi-Cultural Advisory Council at SUNY Stony Brook. In September 2010, Ms. Del Monte became a Literacy Volunteer and recently joined the Steering Committee of the Community Family Literacy Project of the Mastic, Moriches and Shirley Community Library.