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The Bismarck Human Relations Committee selected Rachael Howard and Dakota OutRight as recipients of the 2021 Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual, business, or nonprofit organization that has demonstrated leadership in the area of human rights. This year the committee recognized both an individual and a nonprofit organization. Award recipients were presented with the Humanitarian Award by the Human Relations Committee at the April 27, 2021 city commission meeting. They were recognized by Mayor Bakken and the Bismarck Board of City Commissioners.
Rachael Howard is the individual award recipient. She is the founder of Closet 127, a charitable organization in the Bismarck-Mandan area that provides furniture and household items to individuals and families who are starting over, or leaving unhealthy situations, and embarking on a new path in life. Their vision is to encourage all individuals to gain their independence and to embrace their capabilities while living a healthy and joyful life, being their best self.
“Through Closet 127, Rachael has helped over 75 families in need since being founded in June 2020. Rachael has been a light, a beacon of hope when so many have been walking through dark times. Her generosity knows no limits. It is truly an honor to nominate her for Humanitarian of the Year,” said one of the individuals who nominated her.
Dakota OutRight is the non-profit organization award recipient. Dakota OutRight is an LGBTQ-focused organization located in Bismarck-Mandan. Their mission is to serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA) community of North Dakota with a focus in the capital city and surrounding area by increasing visibility, providing resources and information, advocating for equality, and creating safe spaces for connection, support, and celebration. Their goal is to sponsor a variety of events that speak to the diverse interests of LGBTQIA people in central and western North Dakota. Each year the organization hosts a Capital Pride celebration in Bismarck.
The purpose of the Bismarck Human Relations Committee is to create an atmosphere of inclusion, equality, and accessibility through education and outreach to recognize the value of a diverse community. For more information about the committee, please visit www.bismarcknd.gov/humanrelationscommittee.