Commissioners

Title Information

Chair: Rabbi Richard Steinberg


Vice-Chair: Rabbi Richard Steinberg

Representing: District 3

Appointed by: Supervisor Spitzer

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? The Commission’s work is essential to creating and maintaining a environment of inclusion, kindness and respect for the diversity of our county.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? Very simply put – with Freedom comes Responsibilty. #HatefreeOC is our attempt to encourage people to use their freedom to make good choices that result in people caring for one another, for eradicating hate and for lifting up the marganalized.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? It is an honor to serve Orange County in this important work and to create a world God would be proud of.

Who inspires you? Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

My favorite quote & author: Rabbi Heschel said, “…morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

Vice-Chair: Dr. Chiarina Piazza


Dr. Chiarina Piazza

Representing: District 4

Appointed by: City Selection Committee

Profession: Associate Dean, Pre-Licensure Programs, College of Nursing West Coast University

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? Given the palpable tensions fostered by our current political climate, it is an imperative that we “go back to the basics” of civility and human kindness. OC Human Relations Commission is in a unique position to address these tensions and conflicts with the goal of eliminating them because that is the bedrock of our mission.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? A #HateFreeOC begins with me and my will every day and in every moment to overcome my own implicit biases so I may reach out to those who look, think, feel, and believe differently from me in an effort to learn and understand them and their story. In that way, their story becomes mine and mine becomes theirs.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? The centrality of the Commission’s work very much resonates with me, as its mission has been part of my personal philosophy–to build a united world, respecting and valuing diversity. Most importantly, my legacy to my children is to continue imparting the basic tenets of universal brotherhood through concrete acts and activities.

Who inspires you? One day, it’s the student, the mail carrier, the nurse and the next day it’s a fellow Commissioner, the small business owner, the homeless shelter volunteer to name a few. All they have in common is the fervent desire to live and prosper in a county free from injustice, fear and hatred. They inspire me.

My favorite quote & author: “So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” – Florence Nightingale

Bekele Demissie


Bekele Demissie

Representing: District 4

Appointed by: Supervisor Nelson

Profession: Sr. Community Relations

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? My interest and passion stems from the need to stand and help bring awareness that we are all equal.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? This campaign represents and supports the importance of civility among our diverse communities in Orange County.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? It is my call, my interest and passion to support communities who are in most need.

Who inspires you? My parents and the Bible teachings.

My favorite quote & author: Book of Matthew 25:40 “What you did for one of the least of there, you did for me.”

Chief Mike Hamel


Chief Mike Hamel

Representing: District 3

Appointed by: City Selection Committee

Profession: Irvine Police Chief

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? Given our richly diverse community with many passionate individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of others, the work of the HRC is more important now than ever.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? #HateFreeOC looks like a County with diminishing hate crime and a genuine desire to understand and treat with respect others who are different than us.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? To represent the Orange County Law Enforcement community in a manner that breeds mutual trust, understanding and respect, while seeking every opportunity to demonstrate care and compassion for all.

Who inspires you? People who are naturally inclined to place service before self.

My favorite quote & author: “The police are the public and the public are the police.” – Sir Robert Peel

Dr. Kerry Reynolds


Dr. Kerry Reynolds

Representing: District 2 - At-Large Appointee

Appointed by: Supervisor Steel 

Profession: Licensed Therapist

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? The Commission’s work is very significant in terms of affecting the current and future culture (and heart) of Orange County.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? A HateFree OC looks like a “paradise” where all races, religions, socioeconomic levels, political and gender identities, and various competing organizations live and work together in peace and understanding. It’s a place where human souls express their distinct disagreements and differences with integrity, mutual compassion, tolerance and respect.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? I am part of the HRC because one of my life’s commitments has been to “share the blessings.” Because Orange County has been home for over three decades and has provided numerous opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, economic prosperity, business and social connections and more, I desire to give back through SERVICE to the county I love.

Who inspires you? Mother Teresa has always inspired me because of her spiritual strength, her unlimited and unwavering love, and her self-less service to others. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also been a role model of forgiveness– transcending impeding prejudice and negative circumstance, and not allowing “victimship” to influence her spirit, character, or success.

My favorite quote & author: A favorite leadership quote is from President Abraham Lincoln. “As a leader, you cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

Jany Lee

Representing: District 1

Appointed by: City Selection Committee

Biographical information is in the process of updating.

Kim Toan T. Do

Representing: District 1

Appointed by: Supervisor Do

Profession: Pharmacist

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? Given our diversity, the work of HRC is more important than ever.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? People accepted everywhere.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? I would like to give back.

Don Sedgwick

Representing: District 5

Appointed by: City Selection Committee

Profession: CEO

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? Helping people to live in harmony together is always important. In today's world, people tend to isolate from people who are different than themselves, which leads to misunderstandings.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? A world where people are OK that others have different viewpoints, backgrounds, and who look differently than they do.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? I believe strongly in the individual's right to be different or unique, and to worship freely, without fear of discrimination.

Who inspires you? Abraham Lincoln

My favorite quote & author: "An unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates 

Michael Reynolds

Representing: District 2

Appointed by: Supervisor Steel

Profession: Attorney

How relevant or important is the HRC’s work today? More important today than at any time in the past 40 years. As our politics become increasingly divisive, we must continue to prioritize the building of bridges among individuals of different opinions, life experiences and backgrounds.

What does a #HateFreeOC look like to you? A community where people are tolerated, welcomed and valued despite differences of culture, ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation and opinion, and where people of good will can debate one another peacefully and respectfully.

Why are you part of the OC Human Relations Commission? In these increasingly dangerous times, people are starting to judge one another on matters other than the content of their character. We must thwart the efforts of those who would divide us along racial, religious, political and other grounds by building bonds among individuals, repairing relations among communities and increasing tolerance and understanding.

Who inspires you? God

My favorite quote & author: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." – King Solomon; Proverbs 15:1

Michele Steggell

Representing: District 2

Appointed by: City Selection Committee

Biographical information is in the process of updating.