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Duff 'humbled' to be Amos Owen recipient

Children look over the balustrade at the Red Wing Diversity Festival activities taking place Saturday in Central Park.1 / 3
The festival theme was "Explore Your Roots" and offered people a chance to learn about various organizations that promote values championed by the Red Wing Human Rights Commission. (Republican Eagle photos by Anne Jacobson)2 / 3
Duff3 / 3

This year's Diversity Festival theme was "Explore Your Roots," and the latest Amos Owen Award recipient was doing just that Saturday.

Carol Duff was not able to accept the award in person as she was on a trip to Poland to research family. But it's activities like those travels that made her right for the award, according to those that nominated her. She works to broaden the community's understanding of diversity, different cultures and acceptance, they said, including bringing her travel experiences back to the community.

Her nomination lists such accomplishments as serving on city commissions and the City Council, work with the Duff Endowment that includes cultural programs, helping establish an Alzheimer's wing at the Seminary Home, commitment to programs such as the Building Bridges programs and work with civic organizations.

"Carol has always looked at the big picture to create a more just and peaceful world," Duff's nomination form states.

Anne Jacobson, accepting the award on Duff's behalf Saturday in Red Wing's Central Park, said the fact that Duff was chosen "speaks to the core of who she is."

"Carol understands the breadth of diversity," Jacobson said. She serves on the Duff Endowment and is editor of the Republican Eagle, formerly owned by the late Phil Duff, Carol Duff's husband.

Established in 2001, the award aims to recognize someone who works to promote human rights issues in the area.

Amos Owen, the award's namesake, was a Prairie Island Mdewakanton elder and spiritual leader. He was known for his efforts to preserve Dakota language and culture.

The Human Rights Commission selects the award recipient each year from nominations and announces the winner at the Diversity Festival.

"I am humbled to have been invited to walk in the shadow of that great man, Amos Owen, whose people lived with their own government on Red Wing's shore, long before our present day people and government," Duff wrote in an email. "He taught by reaching out in spirit to his own community and to the greater world community around him."

Duff said her awareness of the "need of openness" and importance of diversity reaches back to an essay contest about the United Nations she entered in grade school. She said she has since learned from experiences such as attending the 100th World Peace Conference in the Netherlands and serving on the Red Wing City Council.

"All citizens must feel valued, respected and included in our systems for government within our area," Duff wrote "They are all a valued part of our world. I will continue to work for these goals."

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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