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Tony Addresses Human Rights Crowd

Tony Stewart, one of the long-time leaders of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, addresses an audience of 476 people at the Human Rights Banquet, the second largest crowd in the event's 17 years. The annual event was sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, the local organization that fought and ultimately helped bankrupt the Aryan Nations. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Bruce Reed: a rare breed in Idaho


   Idaho native Bruce Reed, a former aide to two U.S. presidents and a vice-president, was the keynote speaker Monday night for the 17th annual awards banquet sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights.

   Reed recalled being in a planning meeting with President Bill Clinton. Clinton told him he should "pickled and put in the Smithsonian" because he was such a rare breed: an Idaho Democrat.

   Reed, a native of Coeur d’Alene, now serves as the president of the Broad Education Foundation located in California. He co-authored with Rahm Emanuel, currently the Mayor of Chicago, the book The Plan: Big Ideas for America.


AM: Reeds Honored At Banquet

Respected Coeur d'Alene attorney Scott Reed, pictured, and his wife, former state senator Mary Lou Reed, were honored at the Human Rights Banquet Monday night by being inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame. Reed's son, Bruce, a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden, held his parents up as examples of individuals who have spent their lives fighting for human rights. Story here. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

17th Human Rights Banquet Facts

The 17th annual Human Rights Banquet of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations is scheduled this evening at the Coeur d'Alene Inn. Here are 10 facts regarding tonight's event:

  • The 476 guests tonight will be the second largest attendance in the 17 years of the banquet (Keynoter Morris Dees drew 520 in 2001)
  • Former Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, former councilmen Mike Kennedy and Deanne Goodlander and current councilmen Woody McEvers, Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin will receive the 2013 KCTFHR Civil Rights Award based on the passage of the anti-discrimination ordinance on June 4, 2013
  • The KCTFHR will present a new award to NIC students called the “Foot Steps Program Award”
  • The 2013 “Bill Wassmuth Memorial Volunteer-of-the-Year Award” will be presented to one of the most active volunteers over the past year.
  • Freeman Duncan, board member of the Idaho Hall of Fame, will induct into the IHF Mary Lou and Scott Reed, Greg Carr and the Human Rights Education Institute.
  • Facts 6 through 11 here.

Question: Have you ever attended the annual Human Rights Banquet?

Arun Gandhi: Don’t Build Walls

First, I will admit that I'm guilty of labeling people. Many of us are. Now onward. During his eloquent speech at the 14th annual Human Rights Banquet Monday, Arun Gandhi said that our relationships are poor because they're based on self-interest, not respect. "We're interconnected," he said. Then, he went on to say that "we have so many labels to identify people. We build a wall every time we put a label on a person." All of which made me think of the "conservative" and "liberal" labels that we throw around Huckleberries Online. And worse, at times. One of the first things I noticed when I began this gig is that few people are totally conservative. Or totally "librul." Most of us have cross-currents below the surface, depending on the issue. Some conservatives can be liberal when, for example, they're discussing a social issue. Liberals can be fiscal conservatives. Moderates, etc. Then there are a host of other influences from are personal history, culture, schooling, etc.

Question: What value do you see in labels?

Gandhi Grandson Speaks Of Pacifism

We have to become the change we wish to see in the world. It was his grandfather's message, and Arun Gandhi, grandson of the legendary pacifist and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, carried that message Monday to North Idaho. Arun shared some of the lessons he learned from his grandfather with more than 450 people who attended the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations' 14th annual Human Rights Banquet at the Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn. "Non-violence is about learning how to be with your anger and learning how to channel it positively and constructively," Arun told the crowd. Like his grandfather, Arun learned the benefits of peaceful conflict resolution from his own life experiences/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Why is our culture so violent?

Gandhi To Speak At Task Force Event

Arun Gandhi, grandson of legendary Mahatma Gandhi, will be the featured speaker for the 14th annual Human Rights banquet of the Kootenai County Task Force On Human Relations this evening at the Coeur d'Alene Inn. Arun Gandhi grew up in South Africa during apartheid and frequently was beaten by both white and black youth because of his race. When he was 12, his parents sent him to India to be with his famous grandfather when they discovered how angry he’d become. Through his grandfather’s guidance, he learned to appreciate peaceful nonviolence. In 1991, Arun Gandhi and his late wife, Sunanda, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester in New York. Gandhi’s speech is titled: “Lessons learned from my grandfather: Nonviolence in a violent world.” The event begins at 5:30 with a social hour, followed by dinner at 6:30. Story here.

Question: What is the greatest challenge facing human rights leaders in North Idaho today?