A new chapter has begun for Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center Executive Director Bonnie Cannon.
Just a month after having ended her six-year run as Southampton Village trustee, Ms. Cannon was tapped to join the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, where she will be the first commissioner in many years representing the South Fork.
“It means a lot,” she said this week. “It’s basically the heart of everything I’m about.” Ms. Cannon, who is also the Southampton Town Housing Authority chairwoman, said she has always tried to fight for people’s rights to make sure everyone was “treated fairly and given a fair opportunity in whatever it is that they are doing.”
Ms. Cannon receives a yearly stipend of $2,000 for her position as Housing Authority chairwoman and approximately $69,615 each year as the executive director at the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center. The commissioner position is unpaid.
She joins Dr. Hafizur Rehman of Bay Shore in being appointed to the 15-member agency, which promotes equality and fights discrimination through public education and complaint investigation. Also, commission members Rachel Lee Davis, Dr. Gary Mar and Dionne Walker-Belgrave were reappointed to new three-year terms.
In a statement last week, County Executive Steve Bellone said the addition of Ms. Cannon and Dr. Rehman will help the commission continue its mission. “I believe these two individuals bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the commission, which will assist in addressing discriminatory practices as well as promote equality for all Suffolk County residents,” he said.
Having already started her new position by attending the September meeting, Ms. Cannon said she is looking forward to bringing awareness and educating people about what the commission actually does.
“People should know we’re here and what their rights are, and what things they can dispute, from housing to employment issues and harassment issues,” she said. “I’ve spoken to quite a few people who didn’t know they had an entity to go to with racial issues or discrimination of any sort.”
Ms. Cannon, who will continue to serve on the Southampton Town Housing Authority, which aims to develop affordable mixed-income housing, said she wasn’t actively pursuing a seat on the commission, but was nominated after word of her stepping down from the Village Board got around.
“I definitely wanted this,” she said. “It must be destiny.”