The Human Rights Center began in 2009 at the Abbey Court apartment complex in Carrboro. Once Abbey Court was purchased and became Collins Crossing, the center was forced to leave due to permitting requirements.
The center’s founder, Judith Blau, purchased a property on Barnes Street for the center to continue functioning.
But in 2014, Blau stepped down as director due to health problems, forcing the organization to find a brand new space to operate.
Local partnering organizations such as El Centro Hispano, EmPOWERment, Inc. and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority temporarily housed several of the center’s programs until the center was able to find its new office location at the Youth Community Project building in Carrboro.
Steve Orton, a member of Youth Community Project board of directors, said the group was excited for the center to move into their building.
“We’ve really been looking for people to share space with, so it was a great fit,” Orton said. “We’re a hub organization for groups that serve youth, so we were actively looking for people to share our space and partner with us.”
Orton said the center has a lot in common with the Youth Community Project, particularly its concern for youth development.
“I think my vision is that we will be together a long time,” Orton said. “Long after we’ve left this building, we’ll still be working together.”
Delores Bailey, executive director for EmPOWERment, Inc. said the Human Rights Center spent approximately one year with EmPOWERment, Inc. and utilized a shared office space with another organization.
Bailey said they did not work together with the center on projects while they were located at the EmPOWERment, Inc. offices, although both organizations share similar programs.
“We try to help all small businesses because that’s basically what we do here in our incubator,” Bailey said.
Orton said the Human Rights Center and the Youth Community Project would love to merge with other organizations doing work for the youth in the community.
“Our belief is that there are a lot of other groups doing youth development and we’re going to find all kinds of overlap over time,” Orton said.
Orton said his group hopes this partnership will benefit the youth and help bridge a gap in communication.
“Our goal from YCP’s perspective is to get the groups working with youth together so that youth are talking to youth and it’s a less fragmented situation than it is now,” Orton said. “It’s hard to get heard when you’re in middle school or high school. The youths’ voices get fragmented or cut up into little groups.”