SPOKANE, Wash. -- A North Central High School student, member of the City Public Defender’s Office and the NAACP were honored Thursday morning as the inaugural winners of the Spokane Human Rights Award during a ceremony in City Hall Thursday morning.
The winners were selected for their efforts in promoting human rights in Spokane in 2013.
“It has long been our goal to honor the individuals and organizations who make a difference every day in our community,” said Lisa Rosier, chair of the Spokane Human Rights Commission. “Now we are able to say thank you with the City’s first award recognizing the citizen’s commitment to human rights in Spokane.”
On Thursday, the Spokane Human Rights Commission honored North Central student Punima Karki, a refugee from Nepal, for her work as an interpreter. James Wilburn and his wife with the NAACP were awarded for positive impact on diversity and Francis Adewale of Nigeria was honored for a street law program to help low income people with a variety of legal issues.
Karki served as an interpreter for the Nepali community to help them understand American culture and what they needed to do to become a citizen. She also volunteered her time weekly to read to students at Holmes Elementary.
Adewale, an assistant public defender, helped people from different nations integrate into the community and connected refuges to resources and information. He helped organize an annual training symposium at Spokane Falls Community College to help refugees and immigrants with the basics of state law, and participated in the street law program on the weekends.
The Commission honored the NAACP for sponsoring and producing events such as the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane.
City Council President Ben Stuckart and Tony Stewart from the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations were also in attendance as presenters at Thursday’s ceremony.