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Community leaders honored for combating hatred

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For the past three years The institute for Hate Studies (formerly the institute for Action Against Hate) has been honoring local organizations and individuals for their commitment to challenging hatred. On Tuesday night Partners with Families and Children: Spokane was the organization awarded and The Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp was the individual awarded.

More than 200 people attended the annual Take Action Against Hate Awards Banquet, which also served as a fundraiser for the institute. The organization will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year. Its mission is to understand and combat “hate through education and research.” “In a virtual world, hatred can simultaneously exist anywhere, everywhere and nowhere all at once and can quickly evolve to violence,” said Director John Shuford. He said it's organizations like Partners with Families, and individuals like Stamp, who are changing the world by taking action against hate.

Partners with Families is a child advocacy organization that works with youth that have been neglected or physically and/or sexually abused. Executive DirectorKari Grytdal said she and her staff strive to build awareness about the hatred born out of such abuse. Stamp launched The Fig Tree in 1984 with theSpokane Christian Coalition. In 2000 it became an independent publication. The newspaper covers stories about organizations and people who put their faith into action.

“Our aim is to dispel misunderstanding, to foster human rights and to foster respect,” she said. “Our type of journalism is designed to create hope, inspire people and empower you to make a difference.” Congratulations to the awardees!

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Lecture of Strategic Communication at the University of Idaho.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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