The secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration, Machelle Sanders, appointed Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle to the new N.C. Commission on Inclusion, which was created to identify policies that advocate for inclusion and address discrimination.
Lavelle joins other leaders of local governments, private businesses and nonprofit organizations across the state on the commission.
“I’m really hopeful that we set some policies that other agencies and groups will want to follow,” Lavelle said.
Governor Roy Cooper established the commission in October 2017, under Executive Order No. 24, which aimed to create policies that prohibit discrimination in state employment, services and contracts that fall under the jurisdiction of the governor’s office.
Under North Carolina law, local governments cannot create anti-discrimination protections until 2020.
Lavelle, who has long been a champion of minority rights, hopes the commission will help to make the state a safer place for the LGBT community while working within the confines of current state law.
As a gay woman, Lavelle said she has seen firsthand the importance of inclusive policies.
“It affects you in so many ways that you really aren’t even aware of unless you live through it day-by-day,” Lavelle said. “You realize all the places where you bump up against potential discrimination or potentially being treated differently just because you are not of a traditional sexual orientation or gender identity.”