PULLMAN, Wash.–Two Washington State University students, a WSU faculty member and a Moscow, Idaho, resident have received 1998 Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards from Washington State University.
Winning the awards are Doris Contreras, an undergraduate student, and Herb Delaney, a graduate student; David Moseley, a member of the university’s chemistry faculty; and Joann Muneta, chair of Idaho’s Latah County Human Rights Task Force. Contreras is from Yakima. Delaney and Moseley live in Pullman and Muneta in Moscow, Idaho.
The awards were presented during a banquet as part of the YWCA of WSU Racial Justice Conference, “Racism in Our Community: A Blueprint for Action.” The conference was held Jan. 30-31 at Pullman High School and WSU.
Winners were selected by a committee of WSU faculty, staff and students based on nominations from the campus and local communities, said Kathleen Potter, chair of the WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award Subcommittee. It is part of the WSU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, the awards sponsor. “These four individuals demonstrate their commitments to racial harmony, equality and equity for all,” she said.
Contreras, a WSU pre-nursing major, is president of Mujeres Unidas. She served as chair of the WSU Educated Latinas/Chicanas Leading America Conference, which had participants from five states. It was held October, 1997, in Pullman. According to Contreras’ nomination material, Mujeres Unidas has “blossomed” under her leadership. Members of the organization serve the community, create leadership development opportunities, and sponsor educational seminars. “She strives to understand her membership and is committed not only to the women (members), but to the community as a whole. Her desire is to become a nurse and aid the ill. This is indicative of her character, in that she cares for humanity and is willing to live a life of service,” said a nominator. A 1995 graduate of Yakima’s Eisenhower High School, she is the daughter of Yolanda and Eugenio Contreras of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Delaney, an education doctoral student at WSU and counselor for the WSU African American Student Center, is credited in nomination materials for his “dedication to the principles and ideals manifested by Martin Luther King Jr. through his (own) efforts to positively influence youth, schools and other public systems.” His involvement with Eclipse, Pullman High School’s alternative program, is praised. He has taught an African American history class to Eclipse students and this spring he is helping teach a multicultural class. Delaney has spoken about diversity to various groups, including to members of the WSU Police Department. His work as African American Faculty Association co-chair, as an executive officer of 100 African American Men of WSU, and as a member of the 1998 WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee is praised. Said one nominator, “His gracious manner — even in stressful times — contributes significantly to our ability to work together.” Said another, “His abilities and actions are exemplified and reflect the principles of unity, collective work and responsibility, purpose and self-determination.”
Moseley, who has been on the WSU chemistry faculty since 1969, is praised for his 12 years of community service, including as a member of the Pullman School Board, of which he was president in 1991. He was Washington State School Directors Association president in 1997 and served as the association’s Diversity Multi-Cultural Committee chair. In 1990, Moseley helped create the Diversity Multi-Cultural Team for the association. Based on the team’s model, “this advocacy approach has been used by school districts” throughout Washington, said a nominator. He has “advanced the ideals” of the Rev. King statewide in his roles in the association, said his nomination materials. “His calm manner, quick wit, and diligence in advancing the principles in which he believes has been noteworthy. David works successfully in any cultural or ethnic setting because of his confidence in what is right and good.” Moseley believes the future of the United States is bright, said a nominator, because of the “strength and purpose of our youth instilled by public education.”
Muneta has made “significant contributions” to the ethnic communities of WSU, the University of Idaho, Pullman and Moscow through her work creating and currently serving as chair of the Latah County (Idaho) Human Rights Task Force, said her nomination material. Since 1970, she has been a source of “continuing energy” behind the task force. It serves as host for educational forums, advocates for individuals, puts on Moscow’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast and promotes human rights through its Rosa Parks award recognition program. Muneta is director of Moscow-based Festival Dance, which brings the ‘world’ of arts to the Palouse and many schools in Latah and Whitman (Washington) Counties. She is past president of the Jewish Community of the Palouse. A past president and member of the Palouse Asian American Association, a grant she wrote was funded and paid for production of the video “Asians in Idaho.” In addition, her successful grant funded another video, “Other Faces Other Lives,” in support of Voices for Human Rights and its work dealing with hate crimes against gays and lesbians. A nominator praised Muneta saying, “Joann has been and continues to be a sensitive and vibrant force in our communities.”
According to Potter, the award winners have “embraced and practiced” the principles of Umoja (unity), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Nia (purpose), and Kujichagulia (self determination).