UMass Boston

Mayor Appoints UMass Boston Professor to Human Rights Commission

02/04/2020| Office of Communications

Reyes Coll-Tellechea Previously Served on Diversity Task Force

Professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies Reyes Coll-Tellechea, center, with City Clerk Maureen Feeney and the Hon. Leslie Harris
Professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies Reyes Coll-Tellechea, center, with City Clerk Maureen Feeney and the Hon. Leslie Harris

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has appointed Professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies Reyes Coll-Tellechea and six others to the city’s reactivated Human Rights Commission, which has a special focus on immigration.

"As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we're committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities," Walsh said. "I'm proud to appoint these seven members to the Human Rights Commission. Their backgrounds and experiences make them uniquely qualified to serve in these roles, and will make a real difference in the lives of our residents.”

The author and editor of several books, Professor Coll-Tellechea’s research reflects on the experience of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination as represented in literature, as well as on some of the strategies used by the powerful to exclude others from their privileges. She served on the mayor’s Transition Task Force (Human Services) and the City of Boston’s Diversity Task Force, and she frequently volunteers as a translator and interpreter for Massachusetts nonprofits working with immigrants and refugees.

The commission hasn’t been active since 1996. Walsh has charged the reactivated commission to pay special attention to the needs of Boston's immigrant communities. Both state and federal law provide legal protections and mandate that certain basic services be provided to all people, regardless of their immigration status.

Coll-Tellechea considers herself an “American by choice.” Born in Spain, she arrived in the United States with limited English skills.

“The city and citizens of Boston welcomed and protected me at a time of great personal uncertainty. It is now my turn to help take care of the city. I am ready, happy and proud to serve the city,” Coll-Tellechea said.

The seven-member commission has the power to conduct hearings and call witnesses, and can issue reports and the results of investigations. The commission also has the power to adopt rules and regulations and recommend legislation to the City Council and the mayor.

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