Junior Commission on Human Rights

The Junior Commission on Human Rights was created to provide a means to engage high school youth ages 14 to 18 in education and activism around human rights issues within Sonoma County, as well as provide an opportunity to foster leadership skills by educating their peers, develop a voice for advocacy, and bring awareness to human rights issues affecting members of our community. The students are encouraged to be active participants in their community, engaging with elected officials and human rights organizations. The program also provides a vehicle by which County Supervisors are able to learn about current concerns and issues important to youth and important to advancing human rights in Sonoma County.

The Junior Commission was founded by former Chair Judy Rice. Current CHR Vice Chair Dmitra Smith has served as Program Manager since its inaugural year in 2013. She continues to build this program year after year, so that the experience of working on the Junior Commission encourages participants to be involved in day-to-day issues that affect their community, and expand the boundaries of their individual and collective exploration of the meaning and impact of human rights. 

Junior Commissioners are selected each spring for a term that runs concurrent with the school year. Junior Commissioners may be eligible for school credit for their participation. 

Acceptance into the program is based on a written application and interview process. The application period for the August 2020 to May 2021 term is now open. Deadline for applications is Monday, April 15, 2020.


Commissioner Dmitra Smith, Project Manager
Commissioner Tamara Murrell

Applications are now being accepted for the Junior Commission on Human Rights

Mentorship & Development Goals

  • Provide youth with the opportunity to participate in advocacy and take an active role in County government.
  • Create opportunities for youth to develop communication, facilitation and presentation skills.
  • Educate high school aged youth about human rights issues that impact their lives.
  • Empower youth to make a positive impact on their communities.
  • Provide environment for youth to develop leadership skills and strengthen self-esteem.

Responsibilities of a Junior Commissioner

  • Commit to the project for one nine month term (concurrent with school year)
  • Attend an orientation and training session.
  • Attend at least 2 meetings of the Commission on Human Rights.
  • Attend monthly Junior Commissioner meetings.
  • Assist Commission with at least one CHR event or project.
  • Contribute to an ad hoc committee with a community service-related project.
  • Attend an all-day trip to meet our legislators.
  • Give input to the Commission regarding issues related to youth.
  • Share Commission news with their school and community.
  • Plan to spend 6-8 hours per month on this project.
  • Contribute to outreach process for new junior commissioners each spring.

Contact Information

Commission on Human Rights
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact us by Phone
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Suite 116B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464975, -122.725632
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Junior Commissioner Applications