The Color of Conscience


“To ignore hate groups, even though they usually include relatively small numbers of people, is to miscalculate the impact that they can have on a community” – Bill Wassmuth

As I reported earlier this month, the Ayran Nation and other survivalist crazies are moving back into Northern Idaho. It is easy to forget the struggle undertaken by a few social activists to root out hate groups in Idaho during the 1980’s. Hero’s like the late Bill Wassmuth (pictured above) devoted their lives to eliminating racial bigotry in Idaho but, as the years go by, it is easy to forget their stories. And, once we forget, we become complacent.

Fortunately, Idaho Public Television produced a documentary, The Color of Conscience, that tells the story of that time, highlighting the courage displayed by those unwilling to back down against hate in their communities.

The Color of Conscience is an hour-long Idaho Public Television documentary that looks at the development of the modern human rights movement in Idaho. It features the story of a small group of concerned citizens who fought against the Aryan Nations, ultimately bankrupting the neo-Nazi supremacist group in north Idaho. The program also examines some of the current human rights issues in Idaho, such as gay rights, immigrant rights, and hate crimes.

Boise’s  First Congregational United Church of Christ is hosting a free screening of the documentary featuring local public television producer, Marcia Franklin. Franklin will be present to answer questions about making the documentary. The free showing is provided as part of the Church’s celebration of human rights in the local community, in particular the recent passing of Boise’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The screening is at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12 at the church, 2201 Woodlawn Avenue in Boise.

If you are not in the area or, for whatever reason, cannot attend the screening, you can watch the documentary here.


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