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Posts tagged: human rights

Dees: Fight For Equality Continues

Morris Dees, a lawyer and major foe of the Aryan Nations in the North Idaho hate group's heyday, said Tuesday at the University of Idaho that the work of fighting for equality continues on fronts such as U.S. immigration, health care and public education. “There are millions among us who find neither opportunity nor justice,” Dees said, speaking to a full ballroom inside the Student Union Building on the university campus. Reflecting back on Martin Luther King Jr.'s success decades earlier, Dees said, “I don't think Dr. King intended for his dream to be a static thing.” Dees said the “march for justice” continues on numerous issues/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Lewiston Tribune photo, of Morris Dees)

Question: Do you think the fight against discrimination is over in North Idaho?

Stewart: I Didn’t Apologize To Regan

“During our conversation at the CDA Library I chastised you for falsely and publicly characterizing a person's position without doing the due diligence of first talking to that person. You apologized and assured me it would never happen again and yet here you are doing EXACTLY the same crime” — Brent Regan comment today, on Coeur d'Alene Press online site.

“I just spoke to Tony. He shared his discussion with Brent Regan at the library. This is what Tony told me “Brent approached me and said I have no integrity. My exact response to him was Mr. Regan we did not ask you to resign from the Board. When you did apologize we accepted your apology. That is all I said to him and walked away. There was no other discussion as he indicated” — Christie Wood, president, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

Tony Stewart has contacted both Huckleberries and Coeur d'Alene Press Editor Mike Patrick to challenge an online statemnt made today in the Press by former Coeur d'Alene school trustee Brent Regan. In an email to Huckleberries, Stewart said: “I was to say the least shocked that Mr. Brent Regan indicated that I apologized to him and it would never happen again. My very words were as told to Christie Wood listed below. I had no reason to apologize. Tom Carter, the Executive Director, of the Human Rights Education Institute was present with me. He can verify the conversation. It is so important to set the record straight and I thank both of you.”


Rights Ruling Favors Transgender Girl

Six-year-old transgender girl Coy Mathis, second from right, holds her mother Kathryn Mathis's hand as the family arrives for a news conference at the Capitol in Denver today. The Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled in favor of Coy Mathis, whose school had barred her from using the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school because she is transgender. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

A Colorado civil rights panel has ruled that a suburban Colorado Springs school district likely discriminated against a 6-year-old transgender girl when it prevented her from using the girls' bathroom at her elementary school. Coy Mathis's family raised the issue after school officials said the first-grader could use restrooms in either the teachers' lounge or in the nurse's office, but not the girl's bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain. Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis have said the district's decision would end up stigmatizing their daughter, who they said had come out of her shell when they began to allow her to live as a girl, instead of a boy/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo)


Aftermath; New CdA Law Opens Rift

Coeur d’Alene is the fifth Idaho city to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation following a heated community debate that exposed a deep divide on the issue. Human rights advocates, religious leaders, business owners, students and educators dug in Tuesday for a long night of testimony before the City Council. Shortly before midnight, councilors voted 5 to 1 to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The day after, some of those on the front lines spoke of moving on and bridging the rift. Others were disheartened, saying their words of caution fell on ears indifferent to their deeply held beliefs. “I think that the council members for the most part had already made up their minds before the meeting began,” said a leading critic of the new ordinance, Paul Van Noy, the pastor of Candlelight Christian Fellowship and president of the Coeur d’Alene Ministerial Association. “The cry for equal rights was heard unequally,” Van Noy said Wednesday/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shane Duffy and Dotty Quade pray outside of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library community room)


Christie: Dignity Prevails

Christie Wood (re: Anti-bias ordinance OK'd 5-1): It was a long, emotional night, and I know that everyone that testified did so with strong conviction. Some of the words were painful to listen to, and some were very inspiring. Human Rights and dignity for all prevailed. KCTFHR stands tall with our City leaders in rejecting hate in our community. The testimony of our City Council was the most compelling and brought tears to many eyes. Kennedy, Goodlander, McEvers, Edinger, and Gookin spoke from their hearts. I am humbled by their courage, and strength to stand up for all citizens. I would like to declare today “Hug your Councilman Day”. I got started a little after 12:00am this morning when I hugged Councilman Gookin. If you see the rest of them today give them a hug and thank them for their service to our community.

Question: Were you surprised by the margin of the vote?

SP: Human Rights Deserve Holiday

I try to keep an open mind. Compassion can't be exercised without one, so I strive to understand the viewpoints of others as deeply as I can. Still, when a friend says, “I don't see why Martin Luther King Day should be a national holiday, or why human rights merit one,” and wasn't the first to say so, I struggled. Monday wasn't just MLK Day; it was also Human Rights Day in Idaho. January 1947 marked the initial drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which outlines basic civil rights including marriage, voting, religion, and economic equality (many on which MLK also focused, leading to several changes in U.S. law now considered fundamental). This document was signed December of the following year, when most other states and nations celebrate Human Rights Day.  To be honest, I hadn't encountered such a viewpoint until moving to Idaho from another state, so I spent the weekend exploring why/Sholeh Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you encountered anyone who questioned the need for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday?

Tolerance Sculpture On Last Legs?

In this Jesse Tinsley SR file photo, Jeff, Alisa and Colin, 3, Brummer of Marysville, Pennsylvania stop to see the wooden sculpture called “Tolerance” at the Bonner County Courthouse in Sandpoint.

It has survived controversy, complaints and at least one arson attempt, but the Tolerance sculpture at the Bonner County Courthouse is not enduring the elements too well. “The legs are rotting off,” Commission Chairman Cornel Rasor said of the sculpture’s timbers. Commissioners began deliberations Tuesday on what to do with the sculpture, but put off a decision until they had a chance to discuss the matter with those who donated the piece to the county 11 years ago/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Do those upright logs say “Tolerance” to you?

Stewart Responds To Press Editorial

It is with no anger or retribution that I share with all of you my grief over the setback this editorial could do to the advancement of human rights. I know from a life time of commitment to this cause that the peddlers of hate would like nothing better than have human rights organizations and activists become silent. As long as God gives me the strength to be active, I will not remain silent. Today I did a silent prayer asking God to give me the strength, wisdom and kindness in making the proper response. I find no examples in history that silence resulted in a victory over the forces of prejudice, bigotry or the eradication of hate. The conservative columnist for the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker, stated it most eloquently in her column when she wrote: “When you choose to remain silent, consider yourself complicit in whatever transpires”/Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here.


Benewah Human Rights Group Starts

Item: Human rights panel prepares for action: Benewah County Group in process of incorporation/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A fledgling human rights group is preparing to move into action in Benewah County. The Benewah Human Rights Coalition, led by former county commissioner Christina Crawford began forming earlier this year. “Our goal is to provide education to make sure that people are treated fairly and to keep a record of incidents and activities that are not in keeping with peaceful coexistence,” Crawford told The Press.

Question: What will be the biggest challenge that the Benewah County human rights group faces?

Civil Rights Panel Picks Marshall Mend

Marshall Mend has seen North Idaho make great strides with human rights, he says. But there’s always more to do. “Some people think human rights is for everybody, ‘except.’ They always have an ‘except’ in there,” he said Monday. “But human rights is for human beings, that’s why it’s called human rights. It’s doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, gay or straight. It’s for everybody.” He’s still working to get the word out. Mend, pictured, a longtime human rights activist in Kootenai County, has been tapped to provide guidance on civil rights legislation and enforcement. The Coeur d’Alene Realtor was appointed in December to the state advisory committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a good time to recommit yourself to promoting human rights. Do you have any special plans to commemorate the life of the civil rights leader and the human rights cause?

BW: Idaho Human Rights Stand Pathetic

State leaders have made it clear they’re not interested in extending anti-discrimination protections to the gay and lesbian community. At the start of 2009, I watched members of the Senate State Affairs Committee barely give Sen. Nicole LeFavour (pictured, via Wikipedia) the courtesy of their attention before quickly voting against printing her bill to amend the Idaho Human Rights Act to include LGBT protections in the workplace, education and housing. A week before LeFavour was shot down by her fellow senators, the Idaho Human Rights Commission — an organization tasked specifically with “ensuring that all people within the state are treated with dignity and respect”—voted against supporting LeFavour’s proposed legislation/Rachael Daigle, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Should Idaho extend human rights protections to the gay and lesbian community?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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