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Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

Human rights advocate, genocide educators honored

Carl and Teresa Wilkens of the World Outside My Shoes and Linda Pall, a human rights leader in Moscow are recipients of the 2013 Eva Lassman Take Action Against Hate Awards.

They will be recognized at the Institute of Hate Studies annual banquet at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22, in Cataldo Hall
at Gonzaga University.

Joseph Bock, director of the Eck Institute for Global Health and Teaching, professor at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention (2012), will be the featured speaker.

Author Michael Gurian will perform his poem, “Eva’s Song,” accompanied by Vicki Strauss, cellist with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

The awards are given each year since 2009 to honor Holocaust survivor and educator Eva Lassman, who at 90 was the first recipient of the award.

Previous recipients were the Rev. Happy Watkins of New Hope Baptist Church and the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations in 2012; Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree editor, and Partners with Families and Children in Spokane in 2011; Raymond Reyes, associate academic vice president and chief diversity officer at Gonzaga and the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 2010.

Carl and Teresa believe stories and service are the most effective bridge-building tools to overcome “us-vs.-them” thinking that can lead to genocide as the Wilkens experienced in 1994 in Rwanda.

After returning to the United States in 1996 to be chaplain at a Seventh-Day Adventist academy and pastor of a church in Days Creek, Ore., Carl needed to be sure the rest of the world knew about genocide, which was then happening in Darfur.

As teachers contacted him to speak to their classes on genocide and human rights, he and Teresa created World Outside My Shoes to equip people to enter into the world of “the other” at home and around the world. Now he travels to schools to tell stories to teach students how to address genocide and understand how it relates to hatred, intolerance and prejudice. He relates genocide to bullying, telling how words have power to shape thinking, feelings and actions.

He believes storytelling helps people see themselves in “the other,” see what they share in common. Service with people also builds bonds and changes preconceived ideas about ethnic groups.

Linda, a city councilor and attorney in Moscow, as the individual recipient of the 2013 award, has been an influential leader for more than 30 years as a political leader involved in human rights, historic preservation and arts, wrote Nancy Chaney then mayor of Moscow in 2008 when she declared “Linda Pall Day.”

Linda is a charter member of the Latah County Human Rights Task Force, which recognized her with the Rosa Parks Human Rights Leader Award in 2003. She has been key in the annual “Finding the Center Human Rights Conference” that helped form the Human Rights Commission in 2005.

Recently retired as instructor at the University of Idaho Law School and Washington State University, she works on civil rights and liberties, nondiscrimination, access and equity issues.

She was also awarded the Idaho State Bar Diversity Section Access to Justice Award and the Abdul Mannan and Ismat Sheikh Human Rights Award.

The Institute for Hate Studies is accepting nominations for the 2014 Eva Lassman Take Action Against Hate Award.

A story on Eva is at thefigtree.org/oct09/100109Lassman.html. A story on World Outside My Shoes is at thefigtree.org/april11/040111wilkens.html.

For information, call 313-3665 or email hatestudies@gonzaga.edu.






Copyright © October 2013 - The Fig Tree