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 political climate.
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 people.

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 conflict.
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 lives changed.''

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.''



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.