City Club of Boise 4th Annual Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Forum: The long, continuing and always evolving fight for human rights in Idaho
More than 20 years ago, Idaho celebrated a major victory for human rights when a lawsuit finally bankrupted Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler and he lost the compound he began when he first moved to the state some 27 years earlier.
It was a hopeful time, with the construction of the world's only memorial to Anne Frank and human rights and the foundation of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, inspired by the former priest who helped lead the fight against the North Idaho white supremacists. When Bill Wassmuth died, then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a Republican, praised Wassmuth's bravery and said that "because of his efforts, Idaho today is no longer home to groups that espouse hatred and violence."
In the two decades that have followed, however, it has become clear that victory was for just one battle. The war is far from over.
At the City Club of Boise's Fourth Annual Marilyn Shuler Forum on Human Rights, we will hear from Dan Prinzing, executive director of the Wassmuth Center, which has been at the center of this work for many years, but we will also feature two new and emerging voices in Idaho's push for human rights, equality and inclusion: Whitney Mestelle, one of the young founders and leaders of the BIPOC-led Inclusive Idaho, and Estefania Mondragon, executive director of PODER Idaho, which stands for Protecting our Dreams and Empowering Our Resilience. The conversation will be moderated by City Club Vice President Mike Satz.
City Club of Boise will also hear from a local high school student at the start of this program with a certificate of recognition awarded to a student whose character and work exemplify the spirit of Marilyn Shuler’s commitment to human rights, civil discourse, and informed civic engagement.
About the Panel:
Whitney Mestelle, Co- Founder & Executive Director, Inclusive Idaho
Whitney believes that inclusivity and belonging are critical to an individual’s ability to thrive in their community. Her background is in non-profit work, higher education, and athletics. She is passionate about child advocacy, fitness, travel with her husband, and the importance of mentorship for teens and young adults. A chai latte is the only “coffee” she drinks and her love for all things track and field is endless.
Estefania Mondragon, Executive Director, PODER of Idaho
“I change myself, I change the world.” -Gloria Anzaldua. Estefania is a daughter of immigrant parents from Tarandacuao, Guanajuato, Mexico. She brings awareness, both of her languages, heart, and imagination to her work. She wholeheartedly believes that change starts from the inside out and is passionate about building power within the intersections. She hopes to raise community consciousness, shift culture, and bringing an anti-oppression lens to the conversation. She imagines a world where everyone is honored and every living being thrives.
Dan Prinzing, Ph.D., Executive Director, Wassmuth Center for Human Rights
Dr. Dan Prinzing is the executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, builder and home of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. The Center’s mission is “to promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for peace and justice.” As a career educator, his work has taken him from the classroom to state government to countries around the globe as a teacher, coordinator and trainer in human rights education. Dr. Prinzing holds a B.A. in History Secondary Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction, an MA in History and Government, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.
We will also hear from a local student whose character and work exemplify the spirit of Marilyn Shuler’s commitment to human rights, civil discourse, and informed civic engagement.
Erica Dymen, a senior at Idaho Fine Arts Academy in Eagle, is recognized for her consistent, long term commitment to making the community and her school better for those who live and learn there.