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Former Idaho governor honored by Wassmuth Center for Human Rights with new building name

The new education oriented building will begin construction in October with the goal of opening in August of 2023.

BOISE, Idaho — This iconic Idaho spot, the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise, is set for a big upgrade designed to be a beacon of light in the community.

“We are so excited. We've received word that ground is breaking within a matter of weeks and the construction of the new Wassmuth Center for Human Rights,” said Dan Prinzing Executive Director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.

In October, crews will begin work on a new two-story structure that will be located across the way from the Anne Frank Memorial.

“The memorial receives 120,000 visitors a year. Now, when visitors come and they'll see that education center with that welcoming come on in. Let's continue a conversation. And I think what that's going to do, not only in framing in Idaho's capital city, in the state at large and in the nation, that here is a commitment to education, it is devoted to education, and it is the power of human rights, education in changing hearts and minds,” Prinzing said.  

Having a physical space to talk about serious issues facing our world and community is a major step to creating change. Change, Prinzing says, to foster a climate and culture of upstanders who embrace respect, compassion, equality and justice for all.

“It's where we amplify those voices of good and in times of darkness and when hate begins to pull at us in the community, the Wassmuth Center has always stood as that beacon. A place where we can amplify the voices of good stand a little taller, get a little louder, and really echo the words out of Ann's diary. That yes, no need to wait a moment. We can start now. Start slowly changing the world,” Prinzing said.   

The education center is slated to open in August 2023. Before it can open though, it needs a name. That name is now selected, chosen for an Idahoan who made human rights a focus of his career.

“Recently in conversation with former Idaho Governor Philip E. Batt, his wife, Francine. We were going to name the building, the Philip E. Batt building,” Prinzing said.    

Governor Batt celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this year, a celebration that included former Idaho leaders, movers, and shakers. Prinzing says when you reflect on Batt’s life, it’s clear his name is perfect to join Marilyn Schuler, and Bill Wassmuth as Idaho leaders who embody embracing human rights.

“It really is a tribute to Governor Batt's commitment to human rights in Idaho. You know, when we look at when he was in the legislature starting the Idaho Commission for Human Rights Legislation to protect farm workers, it is his personal and professional commitment to human rights that really that is the legacy he has left. And what a fitting tribute as folks step into the memorial, into the center and to see the governor's name right there in association,” Prinzing said.   

Education will be the emphasis, an emphasis echoed by inspirational icons with a passion for human rights.

“One of my favorite quotes etched in the stone of the memorial by Confucius: 'Do unto others as you would have them do to you'. To me, that's what the memorial represents. It's what the work of Wassmuth Center represents, that it's how do we really treat one another as a community? How do we come together even in times of division,” Prinzing said. “How do we come together and have that conversation? You know, we're a firm believer. Maybe you and I may never agree that maybe agreement is not the end goal. Maybe the end goal is mutual respect. I hear you. You hear me. Let's sit together and have a conversation.”

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