At the Human Rights Education Institute
it is our mission to celebrate diversity and human rights
by educating, raising awareness and recognizing
the value of all humanity.
The Human Rights Education Institute offers proactive education programs that teach human rights, acceptance, respect for diversity, and cultural humility. Our programs, activities, and events seek to reduce racial prejudice and increase understanding in our community.
We are on a journey to promote human rights for every person in the Pacific Northwest, serving primarily Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and Western Montana. The institute addresses a wide range of diversity issues including race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and job and life circumstances.
- HREI served more than 22,000 K-12 students in the 2019-20 school year
- HREI serves 55 school districts in the region
- Beyond individual classroom requests, HREI programs support a Teen Human Rights Symposium, an Advocacy Camp for middle school, 3 elementary school break camps, and many community multicultural day celebrations annually
- In the first third of the year 2020, 50 HREI volunteers served 1487.5 hours
- In 2019, 39 HREI volunteers served 4864.8 hours
- As of May 2020, HREI and Love Lives Here have signed over 150 businesses to their Kindness Campaign
- HREI partners with North Idaho College Diversity to support the Annual Diversity Symposium
- HREI is the proud sponsor of the annual Lakes Middle School Multicultural Fair
- HREI has produced 5 Human Library Events and 227 personal stories have been shared through reading books
- HREI partners with higher education to provide a great learning environment to interns, and partners with the community to match mentors with interns
- North Idaho College, Lewis Clark State College, University of Idaho, Boise State University, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Arizona State University
- Since 2017, we have served 24 student internships completing 1621 hours in the following disciplines: Marketing, Program, Finance, Accounting, Information Systems, Administration, Resource Development, Environmental Justice and more
Through December 2017, $217,263.90 has been spent remodeling and improving the building to meet the needs of the organization. To date, HREI has spent $844,100.99, which includes $396,835.64 budgeted funds for the programs and $447,265.53 for that portion of salaries and benefits that were directly tied to program development and implementation. Through this, the Human Rights Education Institute has become recognized in the Inland Northwest as a unique cultural institution that hosts world-class exhibits, develops programs for children, sponsors events celebrating diversity, and provides workshops and training for community members, business leaders, and educators.
In order to have a world that is just for all, we must come together as individuals, as organizations and businesses, and as community leaders, to be an active part of the change. We must take this moment to examine personal biases and relationships, and educate and equip ourselves to be vigilant in a unified course of action. This will ensure equitable communities.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to remembering and reflecting on historical and recent tragedies, while developing supports and education, so that they may never again occur in the future.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to fighting for equality for all, especially those most harmed by a system that historically dehumanizes people of color.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to continue to investigate our own privilege so that we can embed racial equity into our work.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to always speak in the language of love, unity and empathy because systemic racism silences the voices of so many.We will uplift these voices to be amplified, and we will listen intently with love and compassion to seek understanding.For only then, can change occur.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to hold open the HREI space for inclusive, safe conversations that are the building blocks of new systems and create a culture that values justice and humility for everyone.
- As leaders in the community, WE ARE COMMITTED to hold ourselves accountable to help create the infrastructure to reduce poverty, increase access and resources to health care and education, and provide for restorative justice for underserved people while working to change the social and economic system that was designed to perpetuate oppression.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to ensuring that our local law enforcement entities are engaged in cultural humility training and implementing racial equity practices in all of their work.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to providing educational opportunities that will increase understanding in our communities and reduce racial prejudice.
- We believe that educators have a key role to play in lifesaving anti-racist work.Therefore, HREI IS COMMITTED to encouraging other members of the academic and scholastic system to join us in collaborative advocacy of these commitments.
- WE ARE EXPLICIT in these commitments and oppose any form of racism, discrimination, violence and hateful acts in our communities that seek to destroy our mission and vision and that of the work in which we engage.
In an interview on Face the Nation (June 7, 2020), Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State, shares, “Focus on education is a way to break through the barriers of prejudice. Education is not a shield against prejudice. But it gives people a fighting chance.”
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 Human Rights Education Institute 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.
Acknowledgement of Lands
In the Spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, the Human Rights Education Institute (HREI) pays homage to the indigenous people, Schitsu’umsh, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, a people that are still here and bring to light their ancient heritage, and the land on which the Institute is located.
Furthermore, we recognize and honor the sovereignty of the Coeur d’Alene’s, and indigenous peoples in the territories of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana; including the Spokane’s, the Kootenai, the Kalispel, Colville Confederated Tribes and the Kootenai-Salish, where we serve, educate and gather to share the message of celebrating diversity, promoting human rights and recognizing the value of all humanity.
HREI celebrates and honors the culture, heritage, strength and diversity of Native American peoples and commits to sharing their true histories and unique cultures.
HREI recognize the struggles faced by Indigenous peoples and commit to challenging anti-Indigenous oppression. We acknowledge the unjust treatment of Indigenous peoples, both historically and presently. Indigenous peoples and communities who are organizing for justice have our support and solidarity.