“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world… Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”
A BETTER WORLD, A BETTER COUNTRY, A BETTER COMMUNITY MUST BEGIN AT HOME.
The Human Rights Education Institute traces back to 1981, when the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations was founded by a diverse group of citizens as a response against the harassment and criminal activities of the Aryan Nations.
Over the years, the Task Force played a large role in confronting hate in the Inland Northwest and was instrumental in directing the passage of major Idaho state laws against harassment (see below for wording of Idaho Statutes Section 18-7902). In the Fall of 2000, the mission of the Task Force was realized when a lawsuit on behalf of local citizens bankrupted the Aryan Nations.
In 1998, The Human Rights Education Institute was founded as the educational arm of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. Following the successful lawsuit against the Aryan Nations, the Gregory C. Carr Foundation pledged seed money to the Institute to create a human rights education center. A historic building was secured in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene, and the Center officially opened on December 10, 2005.
The Institute hosts and creates world-class exhibits, develops programs for children, sponsors events celebrating diversity, and provides workshops and training for community members, business leaders and educators. The Institute has an established, visible presence that reinforces the importance of human rights and our dedication to promoting these rights in our region.
The Human Rights Education Institute was founded on principles of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These documents establish the principles of dignity and worth for every human being. The Human Rights Education Institute affirms and supports these fundamental principles of human rights.
Our mission is to promote human rights as an essential element of a just and successful democracy. We serve the community by collaborating with other area organizations and educational institutions to provide programs, exhibits, public forums, and networking opportunities to address human rights issues that impact our community and to encourage public dialogue about these issues.
Every person counts. HREI addresses a wide range of diversity issues in the course of its programs, including race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and job and life circumstance. Prejudice and discrimination cannot be eliminated in one area while continuing to exist in another.