The commission has the following powers and duties in order to carry out the general intent and purpose of the ordinance:
1. To act as a public forum in hearing complaints involving racial tension, to bring together the parties involved to discuss the facts and to assist in the resolution of such complaints.
2. To receive complaints, via the Human Relations office, alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or handicap. The department staff will investigate, mediate and conciliate all complaints.
3. To develop an atmosphere conducive to the best possible human relations, to conduct studies, suggest areas of concern and recommend any action to the city council that the commission feels is necessary and may be lawfully taken to minimize areas of conflict and to promote harmonious relations.
4. To provide open channels of useful communications among the various racial, religious, ethnic and economic groups in the city and between those groups and the city council so that misunderstandings and wide differences leading to conflict may be ameliorated.
5. To do research, obtain factual data, hold meetings with citizens and consider and recommend the best and fairest means of progressively improving human relations among all citizens of the city.
6. To institute and conduct educational programs that promote fairness and courtesy in dealing with people of all racial, religious, ethnic, economic backgrounds and status and that promote equal treatment, equal opportunity and mutual understanding and respect for all citizens.
7. To render at least annually a written report to the City Council.
8. To promote equitable and proportionate representation of all traditionally under-represented groups on public boards and agencies in the city.
Throughout its existence, the Durham Human Relations Commission has provided forums, workshops, conferences, one-on-one interventions, and other activities with one goal in mind: To improve human relations among the people of Durham.