HREC Founder Honored With National ‘Characters Unite’ Award

Salt Lake City, UT, Monday, July 28, 2014 – The USA Network recently announced the recipients of the 2014 Characters Unite Awards.

The Human Rights Education Center of Utah (HREC) Founder and Executive Director, Carla Kelley was among the ten winners selected from hundreds of nominees for their extraordinary efforts to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination, and making significant contributions to promoting greater tolerance, respect and acceptance in their communities.

The winners will be acknowledged during hometown award ceremonies and will receive $5,000 grants from USA Network to support their projects or related nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, honorees will be featured on-air in a public service announcement, online at and in social media.

HREC is a nonprofit organization that has been combating prejudice and promoting tolerance in Salt Lake City for nearly 15 years. Carla, who is the mother of three, including an openly gay son and grandson, and has been a foster mother to several teens, has seen first-hand the impact of homophobia, racism and bullying.

After her last child left home, she was inspired to finish her degree, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Integral Studies with a focus on anti-bias education and peace building in communities from the California Institute of Integral Learning in San Francisco.

Following the brutal deaths of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and James Byrd Jr. in Jasper Texas, which shared a common thread of intolerance and hatred, she was compelled to establish the HREC in 1999.

The organization provides educational programs and resources that address bias, bullying and discrimination in Utah. Through the organization’s trainings, an anti-bullying curriculum and specialized classes in secondary schools and other initiatives, the HREC has reached more than 30,000 people since its inception. Carla is tireless in her effort to advance equality through education, advocacy and dialogue.

“We congratulate this year’s Characters Unite Award winners for the incredible work they do in their communities to fight discrimination while championing tolerance and acceptance,” said Mac Budill, President, NBCUniversal TV Networks Distribution. “We are proud to partner with our distributors in recognizing these remarkable leaders and their efforts.”