Human Rights Awards honor three

Student, individual and organization receive City's first award

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.

A North Central High School student, member of the City Public Defenders Office and the NAACP were honored Thursday morning as the inaugural winners of the Spokane Human Rights Award during a ceremony in City Hall.

Winners were announced in three categories: individuals, youth (under 21) and organizations, for their commitment to promoting human rights. The winner for the youth award is Purnima Karki, a North Central High School student. The individual winner is Francis Adewale with the City of Spokane's Public Defender's Office and the organizational winner is the Spokane NAACP. All of these awardees have worked diligently in 2013 to promote human rights in Spokane.

“It has long been our goal to honor the individuals and organizations who make a difference every day in our community,” Lisa Rosier, chair of the Spokane Human Rights Commission said. “Now we are able to say thank you with the City's first award recognizing the citizen's commitment to human rights in Spokane.”

The Human Rights Commission strives to promote and secure a mutual understanding and respect among all people. The Human Rights Awards were created to recognize the outstanding commitment of those who support human rights and make a difference in Spokane.

Karki, a refuge from Nepal, has dedicated her time to acting as an interpreter for the Nepali community and helping this community understand American culture and what they need to do to become a citizen. She also volunteers her time weekly to read to students at Holmes Elementary. She was nominated by Paula Korus.

Adewale, an assistant public defender, helped people from different nations integrate into our community and connected refugees to resources and information. He was instrumental in hosting an annual training symposium at Spokane Falls Community College to help refugees and immigrants with the basics of state law, and participated in a street law program on the weekends to help low-income people with a variety of legal issues. He was nominated by Kathy Knox.

The NAACP has been instrumental in promoting diversity in the community, sponsoring and producing the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane. Members of the NAACP participate in a variety of social events every year to promote human rights and social justice.

Presenters at the ceremony included Mayor David Condon, City Council President Ben Stuckart, Tony Stewart from the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations and Lisa Rosier from the Human Rights Commission. Transitions New Leaf Bakery provided breakfast.