Patricia L. Gatling

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Commissioner-Chair • New York City Commission on Human Rights • New York, N.Y.

Appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2002, Patricia L. Gatling is commissioner and chair of New York City’s Com-mission on Human Rights, which enforces human rights laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation and bias-related harassment. She oversees the commission’s administrative and legal functions and enforcement of the city’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation as well as bias-related harassment, and represents the mayor and the City of New York at various functions and programs.

Previously, Gatling was first assistant district attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, in charge of the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau. She is a senior trainer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, instructing law enforcement officers from newly emerging democratic countries as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Law Enforcement Academy. Gatling also served as a special assistant attorney general in the Office to Investigate the New York City Criminal Justice System, focusing on the prosecution of police brutality and death-in-custody cases.

Her commitment to human rights is as strong as her loyalty. “I am loyal to my work, loyal to my friends, loyal to my family,” Gatling says.

Gatling earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Passing the bar exam was no small feat. “It took me a couple of tries,” she concedes. Her advice to others: “People are not judged by the obstacles in their life. They are judged by the way they handle those obstacles—whether they face the obstacles or back down from them. I chose the former. My advice to those who come after me is to make the same choice,” she says.

Gatling credits her success to her parents’ “undying support and unconditional love.” Her dream is to one day open a school in Botswana for children with AIDS and AIDS orphans. “Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ That is my life’s mission. I want to make a difference in this world,” she says.