Lesson on racism hits close to home

Middle school students view "The Color of Conscience"

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Middle school students in Coeur d'Alene are viewing film footage of their own community this morning, as part of a classroom lesson on racism.

The Idaho Public Television special, "The Color of Conscience," is being shown to Lakes Magnet Middle School students. Following the showing of the film, students in all the school's advisory classes will participate in  teacher-led followup discussions on racism.

Produced by Idaho Public Television host, Marcia Franklin, "The Color of Conscience" first aired in May.

The documentary examines the past 30 years of the modern human rights movement in Idaho, and chronicles the efforts of local human rights activists who in 1981 founded the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

Task force members responded to acts of violence by members of the Aryan Nations by paving the way for a 2002 civil lawsuit that resulted in the disbanding of the group's Hayden headquarters.

Victims of a shooting committed by guards of the Aryan Nations compound were awarded a multi-million dollar settlement that bankrupted the group.

Following the verdict, philanthropist Gregg Carr purchased the property and the buildings were cleared from the land.

The film includes archival footage from the years leading up to the lawsuit, as well as footage from the first time task members walked the cleared grounds of the former compound.

"The Color of Conscience" also examines some of the current human rights issues in Idaho, such as gay rights, immigrant rights and hate crimes.

The segment of the film that deals with gays, lesbians and transgenders has been edited out of the version of the film that will be viewed by the middle school students.

The entire film can be viewed online at Idaho Public Television's website.

A preview can be viewed below. 

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