UW Center for Human Rights Director Angelina Snodgrass Godoy opens the 2017 Spring Celebration: “When we began this tradition back in 2010, we thought that in the field of human rights too often we hear a lot of bad news, and we don’t have the habit oftentimes of taking stock of our victories, of the good news, of the emergent new strategies that are welling up around us.”
Angelina Godoy: “We are here tonight to honor Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a man who makes all of us very proud to be Washingtonians. We are also here to honor the work of our tremendous students. In a time when it seems like there’s a regular onslaught of bad news, what gives me hope is the opportunity to work with these tremendous young people.”
Five UW students were awarded fellowships from the Center for Human Rights. From left to right: Sarah Dreier, Andre Stephens, Kelsey Armstrong-Hahn, and Angie Tamayo Montero. (Not pictured: Patrick Thomson)
Sarah Dreier received the 2017 Mack-Mayerfeld Award. She will conduct research for her political science PhD thesis, which examines what drives support for or rejection of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights within Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa.
Andre Stephens received the 2017 Jennifer Caldwell Award. He will conduct fieldwork for his sociology PhD on how international governance institutions operate in his native Jamaica.
Kelsey Armstrong-Hahn received the 2017 Osheroff Clark Award. A student at UW School of Law, she will use the award for a project with the International Human Rights Clinic, researching conditions in immigrant detention centers in the US in preparation for a report that she will present at a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Mexico City in September 2017.
Angie Tamayo Montero, received the 2017 Benjamin Linder Award. An undergraduate psychology major, Angie will use the award to fund travel to El Salvador to continue her work on psycho-social support methodologies for survivors of trauma caused by forced disappearance.
UW President Ana Mari Cauce recalled the founding of the UW Center for Human Rights: “At the time it was timely, it was the right thing to do. …But there is no way that I could have possibly imagined how important the Center would be today. …I could not be prouder to have this Center at a university that I love very deeply.”
Ferguson reflected on his decision to sue the Trump Administration: “A lot of people have said, ‘Hey Bob, that must have been a really hard decision, to decide to sue the President.’ …But it really wasn’t. …Our feeling was, every hour mattered, because the travel ban was in place, and people were being turned away at the airport.”
During Ferguson’s tenure as Attorney General, his office has taken on precedent-setting human and civil rights cases, including a discrimination lawsuit against a florist who refused to serve a same-sex couple, and supporting a national case to allow transgender students to allow restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.
Bob Ferguson joked about his deep ties to the UW: “My mom and dad are both graduates of this university. My wife is a graduate of the UW. Our kids will be in the class of 2030—I’m a very open-minded man, as long as they go to UW! How am I doing, President Cauce? Am I on message?”
Bob Ferguson on the impact of his office’s successful lawsuit against the Trump Administration: “It shows that the President’s powers are not unchecked, that there are limits. It’s a reminder that we have separate branches, that we are a nation of laws. People write to me and they feel empowered by that.”
UW President Ana Mari Cauce on WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson: “He is the very first recipient of the UWCHR Justice Award, and I cannot think of a better way of starting this tradition. …When we talk about David and Goliath, when we talk about truth to power: Bob Ferguson. And he won! I can’t tell you how proud we all are of our [former] student body president!”
Celebrating our human rights fellows! From left to right: Ana Mari Cauce, Angie Tamayo, Andre Stephens, Bob Ferguson, Kelsey Armstrong-Hahn, Sarah Dreier, and Angelina Godoy.
Celebrating a successful event! Left to right: UWCHR Associate Director Gai-Hoai Nguyen, UW President Ana Mari Cauce, WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson, UWCHR Director Angelina Snodgrass Godoy