Who We Are
The K.C.T.F.H.R. is made up of residents representing all segments of society. We oppose discrimination or the denial of equal protection of the laws based upon race, color, religion, creed, gender, age, disability, national origin, social & economic status, or sexual orientation.
What We Do
The Goals of the K.C.T.F.H.R. are:
1. Provide education promoting positive human relations.
2. Provide support to people victimized by malicious harassment or hate crimes.
3. Promote legislation that deals with reducing hate crimes.
4. Monitor and document incidents of malicious harassment.
5. Promote and celebrate the diversity of the people of Kootenai County.
6. Oppose discrimination in housing, jobs, and public accommodations based upon the above classifications.
To read the Declaration of Human Rights
How We Do It
The work of the Task Force is being accomplished through the board of directors and the following committees: Victim Support, Community Involvement, Education, Legislative, Legal, and Finance.
Background & Structure
The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations was founded in 1981 as a response group against the harassment and criminal activities of the Aryan white supremacy movement located north of Hayden Lake, a community in Kootenai County, Idaho. The Task Force has been instrumental in directing the passage of major Idaho legislation giving the state strong laws against harassment and hate crimes.
K.C.T.F.H.R. is a structured, incorporated, and an all volunteer organization consisting of a 21 member volunteer board of directors of diverse backgrounds. In addition to at-large board members, there are designated representatives from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Hispanic, Asian-American, Jewish, African-American, local governments, Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce, religious, law enforcement, educational and LGBT communities. The board meets on a regular basis to deal with business matters and to plan and implement task force projects. Board members are elected to serve for a four-year term on a rotating basis, to ensure program continuity.
K.C.T.F.H.R. celebrates hundreds of “Friends of the Task Force” who continually provide significant support for our work.
The K.C.T.F.H.R. has been recognized as a major grassroots human rights organization in combating bigotry and prejudice. In 1987, due to K.C.T.F.H.R. work, the city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho was awarded the prestigious "Raoul Wallenberg Civic Award" and in 1990 was designated an "All American City."
Idaho's Path to Justice
1. Malicious Harassment Law - In Idaho it is a felony to maliciously harass any person because of race, color, national origin, religion, or creed. This offense is punishable by up to five years in the Idaho State Correction Institution and a $5,000 fine for each occurrence.
2. Civil Remedies Law - A victim of malicious harassment as defined above, may sue the harasser for actual damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.
3. Domestic Terrorist Control Law - If two or more individuals engage in paramilitary training in Idaho, they can be sentenced for up to 10 years in the Idaho State Correctional Institution and fined up to $50,000.
4. Uniform Hate Crimes Reporting Law - Requires all law enforcement agencies in Idaho to specially report to the State Department of Law Enforcement all crimes apparently committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or creed or (sexual orientation and disability added to the reporting form based on the requirements of the Federal Crime Statistics Act).
5. Explosive Devices Law - Prohibits possession of explosive devices with intent to commit a crime. Conviction for such an act can carry up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The actual use of explosives in the committing of a criminal act can carry a fine of up to $25,000 and life in prison.
6. Common Law Courts Law - Prohibits impersonating a public official or pretending to act as public official with the intent to intimidate private citizens or lawfully appointed or elected officials. This illegal act can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
7. False Lien Law - Prohibits an individual or group from filing a false lien with intent to intimidate or harass a private citizen or public official. The civil penalty for such an illegal act is a minimum fine of $5,000 up to the actual damages, which ever is greater, and also the payment of attorney fees.
8. Verbal Assault Law - It is unlawful to threaten by word or act to do violence to a person or persons. The law forbids the use of intentional threat to place fear in another person to the point that they believe they are in danger of harm (Idaho Code 18-901 and 18-902). A person convicted of this form of assault or battery can be fined up to $300 and serve up to 90 days in jail.
Idaho has also taken other steps to promote human equality, such as officially recognizing the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Holiday.
The Task Force is founded on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and the Idaho State Constitution. These documents support the principles of the dignity and worth of each human being.
We support the self-evident truth that all persons are created equal.
We believe the dignity of each human being is inviolable.
We oppose discrimination or the denial of equal protection of the law based on race, age, color, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, social & economic status, or creed.
We further oppose all attempts to promote segregation of the races. We reject the doctrine of white supremacy or any other doctrine that advocates the superiority of one race over another.
We pledge to work for the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. It is our creed that saying "YES" to human rights is the best way to say "NO" to prejudice.
We support federal, state, and local laws that guarantee due process of law and equal protection of the laws for all persons.
We firmly believe that it is the racial, social and cultural diversity of its people that makes the United States and the Pacific Northwest a special place to live.
Projects: Past & Present
1. Continue to review Idaho's civil/human rights legislation.
2. Monitor and speak out in support of human rights issues.
3. Continue support for victims of harassment.
4. Support the educational use of human rights materials in our schools with special attention to the representation of Idaho Native American history, the presentation of the holocaust, the history of ethnic peoples in our communities and current social community problems.
5. Since 1986 K.C.T.F.H.R. has co-sponsored, along with Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls school districts, the largest annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 5th grade students celebration in the state including a gala event. For the first 28 years sponsors also included North Idaho College.
6. Support law enforcement's efforts to combat hate crimes.
7. Sponsor successful Human Rights Celebrations in the community.
8. Continue to aid other communities as they organize to fight prejudice and bigotry in their area. The K.C.T.F.H.R. has provided assistance to communities in Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Utah, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania as well as other areas of North America such as Canada.
9. Produced a 90-minute video documentary on the history of the K.C.T.F.H.R. with guidelines used by this organization as an aid to others in their work. (The video is available at the Coeur d'Alene and North Idaho College libraries.)
10. The North Idaho College TV Public Forum (regional PBS TV stations) in cooperation with the K.C.T.F.H.R. produced and aired a ten-week PBS TV series celebrating the first 25 years of the Task Force history (the programs are housed in the North Idaho College Molstead Library.)
11. Our organization sponsors an annual human rights banquet in Coeur d'Alene featuring keynote speakers and presenting civil rights awards.
12. Host a K.C.T.F.H.R. booth at the annual North Idaho Fair in August.
About Kootenai County
Kootenai County is located in northern Idaho on the Washington state border. The county seat is located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. It is Idaho's third most populous county, but ranks only twenty-third in total area. About 5.4% (or 70.6 sq. miles) of the county is water, and almost one-third of the county is federal land. Recreation and tourism employment are important to the County as are jobs in trade and services supporting the North Idaho region.
Kootenai County has good public education facilities. For higher education, there is North Idaho College located in Coeur d'Alene. In addition, both Lewis-Clark State College and the University of Idaho offer upper division and graduate courses.
Attractions in the county include Lake Coeur d'Alene and its Scenic Byway, Spirit Lake, Silverwood Theme Park, Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Oreille, the Coeur d'Alene Resort on Lake Coeur d'Alene and the Cataldo Mission (Idaho's oldest building.)
For more information we invite you to follow these links to the Kootenai County, North Idaho College, Human Rights Educational Institute (HREI), Idaho Human Rights Education Center (Boise), and the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce websites.