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Barbara Hood honored with Meritorious Service Award at 2019 Spring Commencement

by Michelle Saport  |   

Barbara HoodAttorney Barbara Hood has led a career dedicated to social justice and community betterment that spans decades. She has represented Alaskans living in poverty through Alaska Legal Services Corporation, worked on behalf of victims of child abuse and neglect as an Assistant Attorney General, and promoted civics education and public understanding of our justice system at the Alaska Court System.

As a volunteer, Hood has dedicated thousands of hours to causes and organizations that support human rights and equal justice, often with a focus on outreach and education. She has served as Alaska Area Coordinator for Amnesty International; as a founding member of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty; and as a founding member of Justice Not Politics Alaska, which works to preserve fair and impartial courts. She also volunteers for the Alaska Institute for Justice, an organization that advocates for the rights of immigrants and refugees and communities facing the impacts of climate change.

Over the years, Hood has used her skills as a photographer and writer to create photo-text exhibits on behalf of local and national non-profit organizations. Her exhibits have illuminated the stories of murder victims' family members opposed to the death penalty, given voice to the struggles and triumphs of Alaskans in recovery from addiction, shared the resilience of those living with HIV, and celebrated the hopes of the homeless.

Hood has also been a long-time advocate for sound stewardship of parks and open space. She is a former Vice Chair of the Anchorage Parks Commission and an active member of several neighborhood groups devoted to protecting natural community assets like the Coastal Trail, Point Woronzof Park, and Chugach State Park.

Outside of her legal advocacy and activism, Hood and her husband Dirk Sisson co-owned Anchorage Great Harvest Bread Co. for 23 years. They regularly donated baked goods to a wide range of organizations and events and embraced a long-standing school-business partnership with the Anchorage School District. An advocate for the arts, Hood offered the bakery space for art exhibits and literary readings, and coordinated displays of poetry. Today she serves as board president of 49 Writers, Inc., a statewide organization that celebrates the power of the written word.

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