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New Talent Joins the Human Rights Commission

Monticello, NY – Shanita Artson of Monticello and Martin Colavito of Liberty were appointed to the Sullivan County Human Rights Commission (HRC) Board by the Sullivan County Legislature on May 10, and they will work with existing Commissioners to guide the efforts of the HRC in its mission to foster respect throughout the County.

Artson has a long history of community activism in the Village of Monticello and has been involved in youth programs at the Monticello Central School District (MCSD). Her volunteerism spans many models of outreach, including her role as a mentor in the NYS Mentoring Program at MCSD. Artson is the Executive Director of the Evergreen Community Garden Project, a member of Sullivan Renaissance’s Multicultural Advisory Committee and a community volunteer with Sullivan 180.

“I’m excited to know that even a small roar can be heard,” remarked Artson. “Through the Human Rights Commission, I hope to empower the community so they can empower themselves.”

Colavito is well known throughout the County as a community organizer and as the Director of Prevention at Catholic Charities. His leadership roles include being the Chair of SALT (Sullivan Agencies Leading Together) and Chair of the Sullivan County Youth Bureau Board. Colavito’s commitment to the people of Sullivan County includes providing training, motivation, and support to those who find themselves in need of assistance.

“I believe that what we do today resonates in the future of our children, and grandchildren in my case,” stated Colavito. “Being a part of the Human Rights Commission allows me to consider some of our neighbors who may feel helpless in regard to accessing basic human rights, and advocating for them.”

“These two residents place as high a priority on human and civil rights as I do, and I’m grateful they proved willing to donate a portion of their busy lives to the Human Rights Commission,” stated Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez. “I look forward to the contributions and talents they’ll bring to the board of this important and influential organization.”

Artson replaces Roland Ward, who retired after many years of distinguished service, and she will complete his term that expires this December 31.

Colavito replaces Gabriel Bertonazzi, who resigned earlier this year, and he will complete Bertonazzi’s term which expires on December 31, 2019.

“I am delighted to hear that the legislators have appointed Shanita and Martin to serve as Commissioners. They bring a tremendous breadth of experience, cultural sensitivity, and a proven track record of commitment to the County,” said Ari Mir-Pontier, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission. “I look forward to working with them to promote our mission.”

The new Commissioners will commence their duties immediately, joining Commissioners Kathie Aberman, Judy Balaban, Sam Encarnacion, Bill Liblick, Sharon Morgan, and Donna Schick. They will be available to meet the public at the Human Rights Commission’s next meeting on June 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.

The HRC meets on the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Sullivan County Government Center’s Hearing Room in Monticello. Meetings are open to the public. Visit the Commission website at

For more information, please contact Ari Mir-Pontier at 845-807-0189.