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Hate Studies Institute recognizes efforts to challenge bigotry, celebrate diversity

Gonzaga University’s Institute for Hate Studies will present the 2010 Eva Lassman: Take Action Against Hate Award–Individual to the university’s associate academic vice president Raymond Reyes, a founding member of the institute, at the Take Action Against Hate Annual Banquet at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12 in Gonzaga’s Cataldo Hall.

Raymond Reyes
Raymond Reyes

The institute will also present a new award, the Eva Lassman: Take Action Against Hate Award–Organization, to the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for its work promoting human rights as an essential element of a just society.

The institute, which changed its name last month to reflect its future direction, was previously known as the Gonzaga Institute for Action Against Hate since it was founded at the University in 1997 to help combat and eliminate hate in the Northwest and the nation through research, education and advocacy.

The awards are named for Eva Lassman, a local Holocaust survivor who has worked with the institute to combat hate in the region.

“Raymond has been a tireless advocate for the marginalized and underprivileged, committed to giving voice to the voiceless,” said Jim Mohr, director of the Institute for Hate Studies.

The Human Rights Education Institute works to build a better and more inclusive community through its work challenging hate and educating the community on social justice and human rights.

In 2009, the Spokane chapter of the NAACP honored Raymond with its Educational Excellence Award at the organization’s Freedom Fund Banquet for dedication as an educator and his active opposition to hate.

Over the past 23 years, he has served Gonzaga in various capacities, including teaching courses in Native American psychology; race, gender and culture, American Indian religious traditions, multicultural organizational leadership and education. 

Raymond has more than 30 years experience in intercultural relations, human rights, multicultural education and global cross-cultural work.  He has served the last 12 years as Gonzaga’s chief diversity officer to increase diversity of faculty, students and staff, increase understanding of diversity and help faculty develop skills in multicultural education.

Gonzaga recently appointed him as interim director of its new Center for Global Engagement to bring together four programs—study abroad, international students, English as a second language and faculty exchanges.

“To work for peace, justice, diversity and equity, we need to see people as mysteries and as resilient,” he reflected.  “We from deep within need to greet, host and hold ‘the other’ in an intercultural encounter of sacred hospitality.

“I am about that relationship, that magical moment when we move out of our comfort zone and encounter ourselves through the face of others and in the spaces in between,” Raymond added.

Loving alliterations as someone with two names beginning with “R,” he said “courageous conversations create caring communities.”

He points out that “communities of conscience are activated by introducing conversations of consequence.  We need to tap our spiritual aquifers that nourish a sustainable community life.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology at Eastern Washington University in 1977, a master’s in public administration at City University of New York in 1984, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership at Gonzaga University in 2002.

He started his career teaching GED in jails.  Before coming to Gonzaga in 1988, he worked with the American Indian Community Center and the Coeur d’Alene tribe.

Until 1996, he directed Gonzaga’s Indian Education Technical Assistance Center, providing teacher training to 200 school districts in seven western states.

He has published articles and chapters in books, led workshops and given lectures on leadership theory, program evaluation, multicultural education, diversity and equity, storytelling, Ignatian spirituality, team building using humor, intercultural competence and race relations.

Beyond his work, his involvements—with the Task Force on Race Relations and its annual Congress, with Churches Against Racism, with Whitworth’s Japan Week, with hosting community TV shows on “Being Human” and on “Tribal Voices,” with Diversity Works, with Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, and with efforts to challenge police treatment of minorities—have been ways to embody his words.

The Human Rights Education Institute was formed in 1998 to serve as the educational arm of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

Through its work, the Task Force has been a grassroots human rights organization that has fought hatred, bigotry and prejudice in the Inland Northwest.

Following a lawsuit that bankrupted the Aryan Nations in North Idaho, the Gregory Carr Foundation pledged seed money to the Human Rights Education Institute to create the center at 414  Mullan Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.

Through the dedication of many supporters and city officials, the Center opened in January 2006 in a historic building in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Its programs include a Young Advocates for Human Rights Summer Camp and an exhibit on “Pause 4 Peace.”

Its two-year exploration of the relationships between free global exchange and human rights, called “Fast Forward: Globalization and Human Rights,” offers speakers, panels, workshops, displays, exhibits and other events.

Its program also includes minority scholarships, an International Human Rights Day celebration and Martin Luther King, Jr., Week Children’s Program.

The Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies will host its second International Conference on Hate Studies from April 7 to 9, 2011.

Building on the foundation of a successful initial conference in 2004, this conference will convene academics from multiple disciplines worldwide.

Those disciplines include law enforcement, journalism, education, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, human rights, community organization, activism, and others to discuss hatred from multiple perspectives.

The banquet raises funds for the institute’s efforts to establish the first hate and conflict studies certificate in the country, sponsor the 2011 International Conference on Hate Studies, award two student research grants to students studying hate, and publish The Journal of Hate Studies.

For information, call 313-3665 or email againsthate@gonzaga.edu.