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Our Mission

“SAYING ‘YES’ TO HUMAN RIGHTS IS THE
BEST WAY TO SAY ‘NO’ TO PREJUDICE.”

– BILL WASSMUTH

Raised on a farm in Greencreek, Idaho, Bill Wassmuth was a priest at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene when in the 1980s he found himself confronted with the misuse of theology for hateful aims by white supremacists settling in northern Idaho. He lived through the bombing of his home and built coalitions to battle the Aryan Nations as chair of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. After leaving Coeur d’Alene and the priesthood, marrying and settling in Seattle, Washington, Wassmuth continued his successful activism as director of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment. When Wassmuth died in 2002, Governor Kempthorne called him “an early voice for human rights and human dignity in our state.”

The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights was founded in 1996 for the purpose of constructing a memorial to human rights.  That vision became a reality when the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial opened to the public in 2002.  The Memorial is a world-class educational park inspired by Anne Frank’s faith in humanity.  A living, vibrant interactive classroom for Idaho’s school children, it inspires people of all ages to contemplate the moral implications of their actions and the scope of their civic responsibilities.

 

Profiled in several national publications including the National Geographic book Etched in Stone: Enduring Words from Our Nation’s Monuments, the Memorial is the only Anne Frank Memorial in the United States, one of the few places in the world where the full Universal Declaration for Human Rights is on public display, and is recognized as an international Site of Conscience.

Recognized as the educational arm of the Memorial, the Center provides programs and resources designed to bring the Memorial’s message into classrooms and communities.

  • We envision an inclusive society where Idahoans take responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights; where everyone is valued and treated with equal dignity and respect; and where everyone’s human rights are a lived reality.
  • We believe that the way to realize this vision is to engage and educate fellow Idahoans to dismantle the complex, intersecting dynamics and conditions that foster and perpetuate systematic discrimination.

Our mission is to “promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for peace and justice.”

The Center’s work includes onsite programming in the Memorial, online programming in our e-Classroom, and program delivery locally, nationally and internationally.