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SIOUX CITY | Two individuals and a local community center will receive awards for working to improve the human rights climate in Sioux City and the surrounding area. 

Richard Owens, A. Frank Baron and the Four Directions Community Center have been announced as this year's recipients of the War Eagle Human Rights Award.

Owens is a longtime K-12 educator who worked more than 20 years in the Morningside College education department. He has also served as an administrator for the Western Hills Area Education Agency. He received the Iowa Governor's Volunteer Award in 2007 for his volunteer work as a champion of the disabled. 

Baron founded the Prejudice Elimination Workshop for high school juniors, which ran for 14 years. He also provides pro bono legal representation through Legal Aid and has provided free mediation services through the city's Human Rights Commission, of which he is a previous member and chairman. He is currently the fundraising chairman of the Celebrating Community project and secretary of the Soup Kitchen board. He has also been heavily involved with the Warming Shelter, NAACP and Food Bank of Siouxland. 

The Four Directions Community Center, 613 Water St., serves Siouxland's Native American Community. It works with the Department of Human Services and Juvenile Court Services to offer parenting classes and a batterers support group. It also works with Native Youth Standing Strong, which teaches urban Native American youth about their culture. It holds Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Dakota language classes and several community events. Its Minority Youth and Family Initiative was recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of the best models for reducing minority contact with the juvenile justice and welfare systems. 

The Sioux City Human Rights Commission will present the awards at a luncheon held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Sioux City Public Museum, 607 Fourth St. The event is free and open to the public. 

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City hall reporter

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