The Fargo Human Relations Commission (HRC) celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by presenting the MLK Human Relations Awards at the Fargo City Commission meeting on January 25.
Each year, the MLK Human Relations Awards are presented to a youth, an adult and an organization which have made significant contributions to the area of human relations in the FM community. This year’s winners are Clara Derby, Nola Storm and Women Initiative Network-Liberia known as WIN-Liberia.
Clara Derby believes racial injustice is closely linked to environmental brutality. As a result, she is a strong advocate for Black Lives Matter, as well as a leader for climate and environmental changes. In response, Clara arranged the Climate Emergency March combined with members of the BLM in Fargo during September of 2020. She also organized a march against the abuse of people of color.
Nola Storm is one of the co-founders and current vice president of Growing Together Community Gardens, a project that encourages more than 150 New American families to plant and care for community garden plots. Last year, Growing Together donated more than 2,500 pounds of produce to the Emergency Food Pantry. While much produce is grown, the project and Nola have also succeeded in growing relationships between community members.
WIN-Liberia provides support for Liberian women and children in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Founded by Precious Grapeh, the nonprofit caters to the specific needs of single mothers, youth and vulnerable adults by strengthening their traditions and core values. Services include mentoring, after-school programs and financial literacy education. WIN-Liberia has played a particularly important role during the pandemic as it helps community members succeed through challenges brought on by economic loss and uncertain times.