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Idaho's leaders work to improve the state's diversity with new human rights program

"When the conversations at the water cooler begin to set a scenario of the 'us' and 'them's' it's empowering someone to say wait a minute, this isn't right."

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho hasn't always had the best reputation for diversity, but state leaders are working to change that with the help of a new human rights certification program that the Wassmuth Center unveiled on Monday.

The idea of the program is to provide a way for individuals to learn core values that include diversity, inclusion, ethics, respect, and civility. For a business or organization, having employees who have earned the certification shows that they have an understanding of human rights and human dignity.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were at least ten cognized hate groups in Idaho in 2018. A majority of those were in northern Idaho.

"One who when they hear or witness injustice is willing to step in and speak out," said Wassmuth Center Executive Director Dan Prinzing during an event at the Idaho State Capitol Building on Monday. "When the conversations at the water cooler begin to set a scenario of the 'us' and 'them's' it's empowering someone to say wait a minute, this isn't right."

The hope is that by becoming certified, you can help facilitate discussions, and help decide what actions can be taken to bring diversity and inclusion into the community. The new program was introduced by Prinzing and Idaho Sen. Cherie Buckner Webb.

Registration for the human rights certification program is now available on the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights website.

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