STROUDSBURG - Minorities face many challenges for equal access to opportunities and services such as employment and housing. The civil rights enforcement agency in the Commonwealth is the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). Their mission is to administer and enforce the PA Human Relations Act and PA Fair Educational Opportunities Act, which strive to eliminate discrimination and provide equal opportunity for all persons. The commission formed the Monroe County Advisory Council to better serve the Pocono Region and assist them in ascertaining and improving opportunities in employment, housing, public accommodations and education. The Monroe County Advisory Council, sworn in recently by the commission, is the seventh council in the commonwealth. The Monroe County Advisory Council consists of 16 members from Monroe and three members from Pike. The Pike County members of the Council are Perry Gower, Cindy Stine and Robert Veneziale. Perry Gower and Robert Veneziale are from the Tri-State Unity Coalition which celebrates diversity and enhances community harmony. Mr. Gower is also a founding member and director of the Pocono Action Lambda Society (PALS) and a director of Rainbow Youth of Northeast Pa. These organizations provide support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in our region. Dr. Veneziale is also a board member of the Pike United Way and oversees the county Information and Referral System. Ms. Stine is an educational outreach coordinator/child advocate with Survivors’ Resources, a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. Meetings of the Tri-State Unity Coalition are a forum to learn more about the PA Human Relations Act and also to address diversity issues in the community. Normally, public meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month. Call 570-686-5555 or visit http://www.tristateunity.org . If you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination and want to file a complaint with the commission, contact the regional office at the Riverfront Office Center, 1101-1125 S. Front Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17104-2515, Voice: 717-787-9784 / Text Telephone (TT/TTY): 717-787-7279. Visit the PHRC website at http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PHRC for more information.