The mission of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights is to “promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for justice and peace.” The Center achieves this mission by providing educational programs for teachers and students, engaging in community leadership, partnering with business and industry, and advocating for human rights.
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.”