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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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GIESEN, Judy

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

GIESEN, Judy. In 2006 Judy Giesen received a Friends of Iowa Civil Rights Award. Friends of Iowa Civil Rights, Inc, a private, non-profit organization based in Des Moines, provides supports for civil rights in Iowa. The award Giesen received indicated significant contribution to civil rights in Iowa in the previous decade. The recommendation which was made for her to receive the honor noted twenty of the thirty years of her contributions to causes of social justice in Iowa.

According to the recommendation, Giesen's work began in Waterloo where she involved youth in "Project Love" in her parish to help the poor. She provided food, shelter and support for six months to a Cuban refugee. She also involved her church in the National Bread for the World Organization which provided funding for basic needs of people in underdeveloped parts of the world.

Giesen moved to Dubuque in 1986 to share with her husband, James GIESEN the position of coordinator of the Peace and Justice Center at LORAS COLLEGE. They organized service trips to Appalachia, activism trips to Washington and efforts to raise awareness. During the racial tensions in Dubuque in 1991, the Geisens organized "Faces and Voices," a committee which led efforts to host a Human Relations Conference in Dubuque. Issues of rights and diversity were explored through dance, music, art and nationally recognized speakers.

Geisen spent six years working with the City of Dubuque to finally include sexual orientation in the ordinance that protected minority classes against discrimination. Her efforts continued as chairwoman of the Dubuque Human Rights Commission in 2000.

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Source:

Barnes, Jessica, "Giesen Honored for Civil Rights Work," Telegraph Herald, October 11, 2006, p. 3A