NWCHR: Mission Statement Consensus and Recommendations

This was compiled for the December 2011 newsletter by Kristin Carlson, Coordinator for the Northwest Coalition for Human Rights

At the November 5th meeting written feedback was collected regarding what the mission of the Coalition should be, as well as what its next steps should be. The consensus is summarized below. For a fully detailed report, see:

• PDF summarizing the opinions and ideas expressed in the meeting overall, including a mission statement based on the Small Group Discussion session, as well as recommendations for the Coalition’s next steps: PDF of NWCHR Meeting Consensus

• PDF documenting each group’s responses individually: PDF of Group NWCHR Responses

Mission. The mission of the Northwest Coalition for Human Rights (NWCHR) is to facilitate communication and collaboration among groups and individuals who are completing human rights work in the Northwest so we can find common ground and create a shared vision and a unified, strengthened voice to better promote understanding of human dignity, diversity, and social justice in our region. We consider the scope of human rights activity to be broad, including the basic tenets of freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear and want. Human rights work might include working for equitable access to a healthy environment, personal safety, affordable housing, potable water, education, and medical care, as well as standing against bias incidents and hate crimes.

NWCHR will: 1) Act as a connection point and clearinghouse for those who wish to share or benefit from human rights-related resources, expertise, and opportunities; 2) Help identify problems regarding human rights in our region and help formulate solutions to these problems, taking both proactive and reactive steps to issues in Northwest communities; 3) Provide consistent support and encouragement, thus promoting persistence in the work of its individual and group members; 4) Recognize that education and outreach to students and community members is a key component of fostering understanding of and compassion for human dignity in the Northwest.

In its role as a connection point and clearinghouse, NWCHR seeks to collect, classify, and share a variety of resources, expertise, and opportunities, including: 1) Existing organizations, databases, and educational opportunities, and the expertise or training offered by each; 2) Individuals who are willing to donate time, financial resources, expertise, or other resources and skills; 3) Upcoming opportunities for outreach, advocacy, and education; 4) Ideas and success stories to generate growth in knowledge, enthusiasm and goodwill.

Specific Actions & Next Steps. Representatives at the November 5th meeting suggested that the next steps should be: 1) Creating an effective communication system for on-going discussion, such as a listserv or online forum; 2) Creating a steering committee; 3) Scheduling regular meetings; 4) Developing and distributing a list of Northwest resources; and 5) Designating a representative from each community or county to act as a liaison to NWCHR and to educate other groups about the Coalition.

Future Meetings. Opinions regarding the frequency and length of future meetings varied, but the majority of individuals responding suggested that once or twice a year would be sufficient, considering travel requirements. About half our respondents felt meetings should be half a day (or two to four hours), and about half felt meetings should be one to two hours. It was also suggested that meeting location should rotate among member groups, and that provisions should be made for interested parties to attend virtually.

Respondents expressed that the purpose of face-to-face meetings was to: 1) Build personal connections and enhance trust; 2) To share and explain ideas or problems; 3) To analyze and brainstorm; 4) To prioritize activities and make important decisions (engaging with the steering committee if it is created); 5) To conduct trainings; 6) To engage new members; 7) To raise awareness; and to discuss finances.

We will be in touch in winter 2012 to let you know how we will proceed with these recommendations. Thanks for all your input!

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About nwchr

The Northwest Coalition for Human Rights (NWCHR) exists to facilitate connections and communication among organizations and individuals who are engaged in human rights and social justice work in the Northwest region of the United States, with special focus on the Inland Northwest. The coalition, inspired by Bill Wassmuth's former Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, will give strength to those working at the local level by allowing them to share resources, information, and ideas, as well as making them part of a larger support system. The University of Idaho Office of Human Rights, Access, and Inclusion (HRAI) in Moscow serves as the administrative home for the NWCHR, and the Coalition strives to build strong membership from throughout Idaho and eastern Washington, as well as from other parts of the Northwest region. All are welcome to join NWCHR and give their input.
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