BONNERS FERRY — On a windy and chilly Nov. 3, community members met at the gazebo on the downtown side of the Kootenai Bridge to remember Grace Siler with a memorial statue made by North Idaho Iron Works.
Grace Siler was a large part of the Human Rights Task Force in Boundary County. In 1985, Siler established a voice in the community by being an advocate for basic human rights and those established in the law and constitution. She assisted in educating people, providing victim assistance, and monitoring the activities of groups and people that may harass or infringe upon the rights of any person regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
Siler stood up for her fellow community members, locally and up to the worldwide level, she helped keep a white supremacist group from moving to the area, and she helped increase the social and economic status of the Kootenai Tribe, among various other tasks.
Siler’s memorial boasts flowers that lead up to an ornate plaque, showcasing how much she loved to garden.
Bonners Ferry Mayor David Sims spoke during the event, as well as Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church Larry Neilson, and the Chairman of Boundary County Human Rights Task Force, Craig Kelson.
“I knew Grace for over 25 years, and we often talked about human rights and education, but we also shared a love for gardening,” said Sims. “I have two peonies that Grace shared with me, and each spring then they bloom I am reminded of Grace and all of the great things she was passionate about. I am pleased to see the design of the memorial prominently includes flowers, as I know it would please Grace.”
Sims went on to thank the Human Rights Task Force for all of their work in the community.
The citizens both old and new within this small community continue to not only show their support to local organizations, but to one another, and that is a quality that is prominently seen to visitors, newcomers, and community members.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead.