HHRC Virtual Annual Meeting
December 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Save the date for the HHRC’s Virtual Annual Meeting as we celebrate and honor State Representative Rachel Talbot Ross, this year’s winner of the Gerda Haas Award for Excellence in Human Rights Education and Leadership.
First elected to the Maine Legislature in 2016, Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross has shaped critical conversations about equity in the areas of criminal justice, education, health and human services and housing. Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross sponsored the successful legislation to create Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations. She has championed successful criminal justice reforms since before her time in the Legislature, as head of the Maine NAACP Portland Chapter. She directs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows program for young people of color. She is President of Maine Freedom Trails, serves on the Maine State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is chair of the African American Collection Advisory Committee at the University of Southern Maine.
Previous award winners include Richard Blanco, Christopher Myers Asch, Pious Ali, Reza Jalali, ILAP, Tim Wilson and the late Betsy Parsons.
Gerda Haas, founding mother of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, has inspired many with her passion for human rights education. A Holocaust survivor originally from Germany, Gerda worked for many years as the librarian at Bates College. In the late 1970s, Governor Longley appointed Gerda to the State School Board of Education. While serving on the board, she learned that students weren’t being taught about the Holocaust in Maine schools. Gerda not only identified a critical educational void, she took action to rectify it. The Holocaust and Human Rights Center welcomes the opportunity to recognize and honor individuals annually who, like Gerda Haas, has demonstrated excellence and initiative in human rights education and leadership.