Human rights group honors MLK Day with breakfast, awards

Annual event hosted via Zoom; breakfast, awards presented to members



Members of the Latah County Human Rights Task Force gathered virtually to honor Martin Luther King Jr.


In the late 1940s, the Latah County Human Rights Task Force was created to stand for social justice. At that time, the small group had no idea what it would grow to be.

The task force originally started to peacefully protest the neo-Nazi party in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Joann Muneta, event host and task force chairperson, described the task force’s past and how much members have learned and grown since then.

On Jan. 16, the task force hosted their annual Breakfast and Friends of Human Rights event via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This event takes place every year to reflect on the works of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and other current social justice issues surrounding racial prejudice.

Sandra Kelly, task force associate member, spoke to the group about MLK Day and what it means to her.

“Martin Luther King Day is a day on, not a day off,” Kelly said. “We always have to fight for what we believe in.”

Nick Gier, task force member, discussed the similarities between two major racial justice activists, MLK and Mahatma Gandhi.

“Gandhi and King believed in peaceful protests,” Gier explained. “Violence is not the key.”

Nancy Chaney, task force member, spoke during the event and explained the common occurrences of injustices in both big and small communities.

“These hardships and atrocities can happen anywhere,” Chaney said. “Even in a small community.”

This year, the task force awarded two members the Rosa Parks Human Rights Achievement Award and Junior Achievement Award.

The Senior Rosa Parks Human Rights Achievement Award was presented to Kathy Sprague, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and treasurer of Inland Oasis Community Center, an LGBTQ+ ally group located in Moscow, Idaho. Sprague is known for her dedication to her community and constant support to all.

The second award, the Junior Rosa Parks Human Rights Achievement Award, was awarded to Moscow High School senior, Laurel Hicke.

“I’ve been involved with the Latah County Human Rights Task Force for a few years now and I’ve participated in so many cool events,” Hicke said. “I am honored to be recognized for this work, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve on the task force.”

The task force houses a community of education and equality for people of all ages across the greater-Palouse area, according to the task force’s website.