Jefferson City, MO - Three Missourians and one local human rights commission are being honored this year by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights for their continual advocacy for the advancement of human rights.
“These individuals exemplify the characteristics of Missourians working for positive change in our state, and their actions serve to inspire us all,” said Dr. Alisa Warren, Executive Director of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. “Having a law on the books doesn’t stop discrimination or ensure equality, which is why we continue to fight to protect the fundamental right of every Missourian to live free from discrimination.”
These awards have been given out every year since 2012. The winners are selected by the Missouri Human Rights Conference Planning Committee.
Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award
The Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award honors individuals or organizations that show passion for civil rights and equal justice. The award’s namesake was an ardent abolitionist whose passion for equality led to his signing the historic 1865 ordinance abolishing slavery in Missouri.
Mary Ratliff is this year’s recipient of the Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award. Ms. Ratliff is recognized as a leader, communicator and facilitator who knows how to bring issues to the table for win/win resolutions. She is a team player with a clear understanding of the issues facing our communities and has demonstrated her willingness to accept the challenge. She is actively involved in the NCAACP and was elected to the NAACP National Board of Directors for 12 years, where she served on the executive board, multiple committees and is currently President of the Columbia NAACP Unit. She has received numerous awards for her local, state and national achievements.
Human Rights Champion Award
The Human Rights Champion Award is presented to an individual who is committed to positive change and is making great strides towards advancing human rights.
This year’s Human Rights Champion Award is presented to Dr. Clyde Ruffin. Noted for his unwavering commitment to addressing the issues of social inequity, economic opportunity and restorative justice. Dr. Ruffin has been the recipient of the Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, the Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creativity, along with many other awards and honors. He was re-elected to the Columbia City Council earlier this year and continues to serve as the representative for the First Ward and Mayor Pro Tem.
Local Human Rights Commission of the Year Award
The Local Human Rights Commission of the Year Award is presented to commissions across Missouri that have gone above and beyond to address local human rights issues as a means to improve the quality of life in the community.
The City of Fulton Human Rights Commission is the recipient of the 2017 Local Human Rights Commission of the Year Award. The Commission promotes good will and cooperation among the citizens of Fulton and establishes educational campaigns and programs highlighting the need to eliminate discrimination in all forms. The Commission hosts an annual seminar to discuss fair housing issues and sponsors a poster contest for students each April as a part of Fair Housing Month. The Commission also takes yearly nominations for its Jane Bierdeman-Fike Humanitarian Award, named for a Fulton resident who championed social and economic justice as well as mental health issues.
Lucile Bluford Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lucile Bluford Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who have followed in the footsteps of others who’s lives were dedicated to promoting equality across the state. The award is named in honor of the well-respected editor and publisher of the Kansas City Call and persistent civil rights activist, Lucile Bluford, who devoted her life to ending injustice against African Americans in higher education.
The 2017 award winner, Karen Anderson, has worked relentlessly over the last 39 years with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. Starting as a Clerk Typist and moving up to Unit Supervisor of Investigations and Intake. She continues to provide excellent service to individuals across the state.
Photos of the award winners are available upon request.
The mission of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights is to develop, recommend, and implement ways to prevent and eliminate discrimination and to provide fair and timely resolutions of discrimination claims through enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Commission investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only).
For more about MCHR, visit https://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/discrimination.