Nominations are now open for the Iowa City Human Rights Awards

Members of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission with awards winners at the 2016 Human Rights Breakfast. — photo courtesy of ICHRC

Nominations are open for the annual Human Rights Awards presented by the Iowa City Human Rights Commission. There are six awards covering contributions by individuals, businesses and community organizations.

Isabel Turner Award: For working for the rights of individuals to get fair and ethical treatment and/or volunteering time to an organization or business that works for these rights
Rick Graf Award: For long-term commitment of an individual, business or individual with a service organization to a specific cause or for the benefit of a specific group of persons
Linda Severson Award: For outstanding contributions to human rights by an individual in a service organization
International Award: For significant contributions to human rights in the global community
Bill Reagan Business/Community Award: For outstanding contributions to human rights by a business or organization
Kenneth Cmiel Award: For active contributions to the field of human rights by a college or graduate student

This is the 34th year for the Iowa City Human Rights Awards, but the Human Rights Commission goes back further than that.

“It was one of the first commissions in the state,” said Iowa City Equity Director Stefanie Bowers.

The commission was founded in August 1963. “It was started to address housing inequities that were occurring, particularly for persons of color, who were being steered to reside in a certain part of town,” Bowers explained. “The title back then was the Human Relations Commission.”

“Over time the name changed somewhat, and around the state many of these commissions are called ‘civil rights commission,’ but in Iowa City they always kept that ‘human’ part to show how important it is to the city and to our community.”

Nominations are open until September 29. More information on the awards and nomination form are available on the Human Rights Commission website.

The awards will be presented at the annual Human Rights Breakfast on October 25. Tickets for the breakfast are $20. People interested in free or reduced price tickets should contact Stefanie Bowers at 319-356-5022, or email

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