2017 Human Rights Awards
Three recipients will each be honored on Friday, December 8th with the 2017 War Eagle Human Rights Award. Dr. Richard Owens, A. Frank Baron and Four Directions Community Center will be recognized for extraordinary work that has positively improved countless lives in Sioux City and the Siouxland area.
Dr. Richard Owens has a long and distinguished career as an educator. He taught K-12 in Iowa and Nebraska for over 20 years as well as working as a professor in the Morningside College education department for more than 20 years. In addition, he served as an administrator for Western Hills Area Education Agency for 8 years. In honor of countless volunteer hours working as a champion of the disabled, both locally and statewide, Dr. Owens was bestowed the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award in 2007. Dr. Owens has spent decades improving the circumstances of intellectually disabled individuals of all ages.
A. Frank Baron has dedicated a lifetime of work for the betterment of Siouxland. He founded the Prejudice Elimination Workshop for high school juniors, which ran for 14 years. He provides pro bono legal representation through Legal Aid and has provided free mediation services through the Human Rights Commission. Mr. Baron was previously a member of the Human Rights Commission and served as its chair. Frank is currently the fundraising chair of the Celebrating Community project and secretary of the Soup Kitchen board. He is also a member of the Warming Shelter board. Frank is an active member of the NAACP. He has also served as the chair of the Foodbank of Siouxland.
Four Directions Community Center serves Siouxland’s Native American Community. With few paid staff, this modest center improves the lives of local Native people. Four Directions partners with the Department of Human Services and Juvenile Court Services to offer parenting classes and a batterers support group. Four Directions works with Native Youth Standing Strong, which teaches urban Native youth about their indigenous culture. Four Directions is also home to AA meetings, Dakota language classes, and numerous community events. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has recognized the Minority Youth and Family Initiative (MYFI) at Four Directions as one of the best models for reducing minority contact with the juvenile justice/welfare system.
The Sioux City Human Rights Commission sponsors this event in observance of International Universal Human Rights Day, which was established in 1950. This year’s awards will be presented from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday the 8th at the Sioux City Public Museum, 607 4th Street. A luncheon will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.