Human Rights Award Winners Announced

13 Champions are Recognized, including 3 Members of the United Nations Association


December 10, 2012 — The Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance has announced the winners of its 2012 Human Rights Award. The winners include:

1. Clyde Snow
2. Roosevelt Milton
3. Father Paul Zahler
4  David Puente
5  Bill Bryant
6. Christine Byrd
7. Joan Korenblit
8. Michael Korenblit
9  Blanca Sumner
10. Hodrick Steele
11. Father Stanley Rother, Posthumous
12. Hans Brisch, Posthumous
13. Iris V. Santos Rivera, Posthumous

The list is headed by well-known forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, the namesake of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award that is given biennially by the OU Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

During a long and celebrated career, Dr. Snow worked tirelessly to investigate the deaths of people who were victimized by violent regimes operating in violation of basic human rights. In places like Argentina, Croatia, Colombia, and Guatemala, Dr. Snow helped to recover humanity for thousands of victims and their survivors.

From the website of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award: “In 1992 Clyde Snow served in Geneva as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission…. Dr. Snow’s 1998 testimony [regarding war crimes in the former Yugoslavia] was the first testimony given by a forensic expert witness before a UN War Crimes Tribunal.”

Here is a partial list of other notable award winners: 

Roosevelt Milton — President Emeritus of the Oklahoma City and Oklahoma chapters of the NAACP.

Father Stanley Rother, a Catholic priest and missionary to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Father Rother’s memory is celebrated in print and film. He was murdered by a death squad on July 28, 1981.

Father Paul Zahler, an internationally-known advocate for people with disabilities. He is the founder and director of the National Institute on Developmental Delays, which has served persons with disabilities of all ages for more than 30 years. Father Zahler is also a faculty member at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee.

David Puente, a leader in local efforts to restore the Manuel Perez Park at Sw 14th & Harvey Ave. in Oklahoma City. The park, which has suffered from vandalism in recent years, is named for Manuel Perez, who received the Medal of Honor during World War II. Puente is a recognized leader of the hispanic community in Oklahoma City.

Hans Brisch, Chancellor Emeritus of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Bill Bryant, president of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the United Nations Association.

Joan and Michael Korenblit, co-founders of the Respect Diversity Foundation, whose mission is to teach tolerance and respect for all people. The Respect Diversity Foundation helps students, teachers, parents and others to explore diversity through the arts. It also helps to promote Holocaust Education to a national audience.

Joan Korenblit serves as a volunteer director for the OKC Chapter of the United Nations Association. She and her husband, Mike, are members of UNA-USA — as is Bill Bryant.

Mr. Bryant expressed his personal appreciation for the recognition represented by the award. “I am pleased to accept this award as an advocate for the good work of the United Nations, which has been a champion of human rights for people around the world since 1945.”

“The United Nations Association of the USA seeks to promote American leadership in the UN, including American leadership in efforts to guarantee the basic human rights of all people as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“The members of the UN Association are proud to work with the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance in support of these goals,” Bryant said.

A ceremony to announce the recipients of the 2012 Human Rights Award was held today at the State Capitol in the Chamber of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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