Boise & Garden City

With racist graffiti in the past, Boise celebrates new day for Anne Frank memorial

The new classroom at the Anne Frank Memorial has quotes (of course) and impressive technology.

The Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights is full of quotes, symbolism and contemporary Idaho stories.
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The Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights is full of quotes, symbolism and contemporary Idaho stories.

Thursday’s lunch hour was a chance for a crowd of about 200 to recognize the campaign toward human rights in Idaho. Young and old people alike gathered at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial for the dedication of the Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights.

The outdoor classroom, named after the co-founder of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, will have room for 35 people and include a digital kiosk that will help tell the stories of marginalized groups throughout Idaho, as told in their own voices.

Several dignitaries were on hand Thursday, including state Sen. Maryanne Jordan, a former Boise city councilwoman who helped spearhead a law that prohibits discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation and identity; Boise Mayor David Bieter, who signed that legislation into law; and A.J. Balukoff, a former Democratic candidate for governor.

It was a good day for the memorial, which was the target of racist and anti-Semitic vandalism last year in a series of incidents that jarred Boise’s human rights community.

Thursday’s dedication also unveiled the Spiral of Injustice sculpture, designed to start conversations about human rights.

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The words “language, avoidance, discrimination, violence and elimination” are enscribed on “The Spiral of Injustice,” designed and fabricated by Ken McCall. The words are inscribed in six languages around the figure. “I just love this sculpture,” says Sondra Hackborn, in center. “If you see discrimination, speak out. Don’t keep quiet.” The sculpture was unveiled Thursday during the dedication of the Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights at Downtown Boise’s Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com



But the classroom, and the rest of the Anne Frank memorial, isn’t just a place to reflect on human rights, said Wesli Spencer, an actor who spoke at Thursday’s event. Instead, it beckons people who believe in human rights to take action for them, he said.

Several quotes Spencer recited spoke to the responsibility of good people to stand up against hatred. The most relevant to Idaho was from former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus: “Let us always reject the forces of hatred and bigotry.”

Researchers used digital photo editing techniques to read the text on two pages from Anne Frank's world famous wartime diary that the teenager had covered with brown masking paper, revealing risque jokes and an explanation of sex and prostitution.

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