EVERETT, Wash., December 15, 2021 – The Snohomish County Human Rights Commission announced the winners of the 2021 Human Rights Awards during a virtual ceremony on December 10, the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights Award Winner
Kathryn Lewandowsky, for her work in health care and with Whole Washington
“I’m well aware that there are so many Snohomish County residents that are just as deserving of this award as I am, and I thank them for the commitment to the good works that they’re engaged in,” Lewandowsky said upon accepting her award. “I just want to thank you for this award and all that you do.”
Young People’s Award Winner
Transformational Leadership Award Winners
- Kristina Jorgenson, for her organizing work in Everett
- Esther’s Place, a safe place for homeless women in Everett
- The Hand Up Project, a homeless shelter in Everett
Other nominees include:
- Tom and Lael White and Marjorie Fields, environmental and climate justice activists
- Elizabeth Vogeli for her organizing work in Everett
- Luke Distelhorst for her work as an advocate for transportation justice and access
- Lisa Utter for her work on the South Snohomish County cold-weather shelter
- George and Pam Hurst for their work with Whispering Pines residents
- Vanessa Gutierrez for her work as a community advocate and connector
- Michael Adams
- Farmer Frog
- Girls on the Run
- Marjorie Fields
- Kim Gorney
- Salish Sea Federation of Democratic Women
- Everett Clinic Defense
All nominees were Snohomish County residents at the date of their nomination, and all have made significant contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights in Snohomish County from September 2020 to September 2021.
“As a brief reminder, all of our guiding human rights documents are written in blood. The reason we have a declaration of human rights is because we have historically had denial of human rights and we have needed to come together, to stand up, and defend them. We need to stand up for each other, to connect with each other, and build bridges to each other, and always look for the humanity in each other,” Courtney Wooten, Snohomish County Human Rights Commission Chair, said as the ceremony concluded.
Snohomish County Human Rights Commission
The Snohomish County Human Rights Commission (SCHRC) serves as an advisory body to the county executive, county council, the Office of Human Rights, and other county officers and agencies in matters concerning human rights. The commission consists of nine members appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the county council.
The current members are:
- Noah Rui, District 1 (term expires July 1, 2021)
- Demi Chatters, District 2 (term expires July 1, 2022)
- Carin Chase, District 3 (term expires July 1, 2023)
- Carolyn Bennett, Secretary, District 5 (term expires July 1, 2022)
- Dr. Gloria Ngezaho, Vice Chair, County Executive Representative (term expires July 1, 2021)
- Courtney Wooten, Commission Chair, General Position 1 (term expires July 1, 2022)
The Law Enforcement Representative position is currently vacant, and District 4 and General Position 2 are currently pending nomination. The commission meets every first Thursday of the month, at least once a quarter, in Everett.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a call to freedom and justice for the people throughout the world. Every day, governments that violate the rights of their citizens are challenged and called to task. Every day, human beings worldwide mobilize and confront injustice and inhumanity. Like drops of water falling on a rock, they wear down the forces of oppression and move the world closer to achieving the principles expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the SCHRC wrote in a press release on December 2.
In addition to celebrating the Snohomish County Human Rights nominees and award-winners, the event last Friday featured a performance from Living Voices who provided a powerful experience through their production Native Vision.
Developed in partnership with Chinle (AZ) Unified School District and Navajo Nation Community Advisors, this moving performance tells the story of women living in a Native American boarding school and World War II Navajo code talkers during the 1930s Chinle, Arizona.
Living Voices is a theatrical group that focuses on historical perspectives based on real people and events. Their productions combine live theatrical performances with archival films and photos to create an interactive experience of how the world looked, sounded, and felt during a particular moment in history. Based out of Seattle, they serve schools, universities, community groups, and corporations to promote diversity and encourage empathy.