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Mountain States Spotlight with Audrey Fishman Franklin

  • July 29, 2014

Mountain States ADL Board Member and Boulder community leader Audrey Fishman Franklin shares how growing up in the smallest city in the US shaped her world view and makes her the ideal ADL advocate. 


How are you involved with ADL?

I have been a Board Member since 1998, have served on the Education, Civil Rights and Membership Committees, and have worked on many ADL programs in the Boulder area including bringing Susan Shear’s “No Way Out,” a dramatic reading of her family’s letters as they tried to leave Germany during World War II, to the Boulder community; helping to coordinate a luncheon with Abe Foxman; serving as an ADL representative to Boulder Community United and the City of Boulder Martin Luther King Day Celebration Planning Committee; and today I’m working on a Meet and Greet Reception to introduce the Boulder Jewish Community to our own National ADL Chair, Barry Curtiss-Lusher!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Broadway musical star!

What do you do in your professional life?

I am a community volunteer.

Do you have a favorite book?

My favorite books are Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas about the desegregation of Boston schools in the 1980s; The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle about race, class and immigration; and House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, an immigration story.

What’s a special place you have visited?

The Grand Canyon, which was life-changing, and the Narrows Trail in Zion National Park, a place that embodies the true meaning of the word “awesome.”

What’s one thing every person should know or experience?

Spending great time with good friends and good family!

What teacher or class stands out to you the most in your education?

I was blessed with many wonderful teachers during my K through 12 education.

Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?

I’m from Vergennes, Vermont in Addison County.  The County’s moniker is “the land of milk and honey.”  It is located in the rich agricultural Champlain Valley, along Lake Champlain and just between Burlington and Middlebury.  My ancestors were from Lithuania.

What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?

I am passionate about immigration reform and my belief that every person deserves equal dignity, respect and opportunity.  Growing up in the smallest city in the U.S. (Vergennes measures 1 square mile and has 1,800 people), I was fortunate to live in a place in which everyone knew each other and, thus, each person was valued for the work he or she did for the success of the whole community.  Everyone lived side-by-side without regard to how much money they made or what they did for a living.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Hiking, biking, skiing, traveling, reading.

Have you won any awards?

I have been honored with the Boulder Daily Camera Pacesetter Award, the Boulder Jewish Community Center “Star” Award, the Allied Jewish Federation Boulder Leadership Award, the YWCA of Boulder Community Service Award, and the Simmons College (Boston, MA) Alumnae Award.

What would be impossible for you to give up?


If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Civics. I still hope to teach citizenship classes.

What is your earliest memory of ADL?

Sitting around Ardee Imerman’s kitchen table with Bobbie Towbin planting the seeds of ADL involvement! Then, at some point Saul Rosenthal called me into his office….

Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL? As a legacy donor, why have you chosen to invest in ADL in this way?

ADL’s mission is noble, comprehensive, far-reaching and must be supported.

Complete this sentence: For me, the ADL is …

For me, the ADL is a vitally important voice against discrimination and oppression of all peoples. I am thankful for its rapid, clear, professional and firm response to hate incidences in the Mountain States region. Our staff has always been outstanding in how they represent us and the respect they have earned throughout Colorado.  I appreciate they are always working behind the scenes to forge understanding and friendships among the many stakeholders who value equity and civil rights and those whose hearts and minds we hope to change.  The ADL’s presence at the State Capitol is profound. Our activism there is far-reaching and our testimony carries much weight for the passage of legislation that has to do with social justice and civil rights.  And of course, the ADL for me is our varied and valued educational programs that continue to spread the word and work of inclusivity and respect.