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2012 Media Releases

April 30, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Kimberley Taylor-Riley of Director, Equity and Diversity, 402-441-8691

Commission Presents Human Rights and Fair Housing Awards

The Lincoln Commission on Human Right (LCHR) today presented the Gerald Henderson Human Rights Award to Linda Willard and its Fair Housing Award to CenterPointe and its Executive Director Topher Hansen. The awards were presented at today's annual Civil Rights Conference.

The Gerald Henderson Human Rights Award was established by the LCHR in 2000, and it was renamed in 2003 to honor Henderson, the first director of the LCHR and a long-time civil rights activist. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in furthering human relations in Lincoln, including a demonstrated commitment to improving cooperation and understanding among people of different racial, ethnic, religious and other backgrounds and the use of new and creative measures to fight discrimination, prejudice and the effects of past discrimination.

Willard, an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Nebraska, served two terms on the LCHR from 1999 through 2007. She served on a task force commissioned by the Nebraska Supreme Court to study problems associated with pro se litigants, those who represent themselves in court. She also serves on the Nebraska Minority Justice Committee. Her activities include mentoring through the Cather Circle; volunteering for Rotary 14's annual picnic for international college students; and fundraising for many local organizations.

The Fair Housing Award recognizes outstanding achievements in improving housing opportunities including a demonstrated commitment to fair housing activities and the use of new and creative measures to fight housing discrimination, prejudice and the effects of past housing discrimination.

CenterPointe is a nonprofit agency specializing in helping low-income and homeless people with addiction and mental health disorders. The agency provides transitional and permanent housing options for individuals and families experiencing problems with mental illness, substance use or co-occurring disorders. The agency's seven housing programs include supportive services such as case management, recovery support and/or peer support as well as access to outpatient counseling and medication management. More information is available at

LCHR is the primary City agency responsible for the resolution of discrimination complaints brought by individuals and serves as the civil rights law enforcement agency for Lincoln. The Commission also provides diversity education, conducts outreach, and offers technical assistance in order to foster more inclusive community relations. More information is available on LCHR is available at (keyword: human).

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