Samina Faheem Sundas Gets
Human Relations Award
Santa Clara County, CA.,
on June 2, awarded Samina Faheem Sundas, Executive Director
of American Muslim Voice, a prestigious Human Relations Award
for her outstanding services to the community.
Each year the Office of Human Relations and the Human Relations
Commission of Santa Clara County holds an award ceremony to
honor a number of outstanding citizens for their voluntary
and/or professional contributions in the areas of human rights,
civil rights and human relations in Santa Clara County. This
year the Human Relations Awards Breakfast at the Wyndham Hotel,
San Jose was attended by 500 people.
Accepting the award Ms. Samina Faheem Sundas stated, “I
am grateful to Allah for blessing me with the heart that could
feel the pain of others. I am very fortunate to have the most
wonderful parents who taught me Islamic and moral values by
their actions that all human beings are equal by treating
every one with respect.”
She went on to say that “American Muslim Voice is 23
months young organization but when I look around this beautiful
banquet hall I see no strangers but 500 of my friends. AMV
was founded to do exactly this, we are a grassroots, nonviolent,
inclusive, civil, immigrant and human rights organization
building alliances and genuine partnership with like-minded
groups and individuals to protect and preserve civil liberties
and constitutional rights for ALL. Our goal is to bridge the
gap between all communities and unite us all under the umbrella
of our common humanity.”
Samina thanked Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission
for recognizing the work of a Muslim American under the current
Besides Samina, merit awards were also given to four other
human rights advocates:
Nancy Gutierrez, a teacher in the Alum Rock Union Elementary
School District known for motivating students.
Sam Ho, director of the San
Jose City College diversity office who promotes multiculturalism.
Wiggsy Sivertsen, director of
counseling services at San Jose State University and outspoken
champion for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Lucy Victoria Tansey, a 99-year-old
tireless woman who has dedicated the past 42 years to helping
American Indians overcome alcoholism.
In addition, the county's board of supervisors also gave awards
for humanitarian works to St. Joseph's Family Center; Californians
for Justice; Fariba Nejat who is credited with empowering
Iranian-Americans; Union Community Resources; and Emily Thurber,
a longtime Democratic Party activist.
Human relations chief Richard
Hobbs gave the Director's Award to the Arab-Jewish Dialogue
Group, which seeks a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian
The Human Relations Award Breakfast ceremony was also a tribute
to Jim McEntee, a champion among human rights advocates, who
headed the Office of Human Relations for 27 years until his
retirement in 2003. He died in 2004.
Gertrude Welch received Jim McEntee Sr. Lifetime achievement
Award. After receiving the award she said "A life of
service is important …It's gratifying to see people's
At the awards ceremony, Welch
was presented the plaque by Ann McEntee, widow of Jim McEntee.
She said: ``Gertrude's life
has been and continues to be committed to building peace,
justice and unity for all people.''