Farrah N. Khan Gets Award from the Orange County Human Relations Commission

On May 7, 2015 at the City National Grove of Anaheim, the Orange County Human Relations Commission held its 44 thAnnual Awards Gala bringing together over 500 of Orange County’s diverse community and business leaders with leading political figures and organizations.  The event honored Outstanding Individual Community Leaders, Safe & Inclusive Community Policing Programs, Exemplary School Programs and Businesses that go above and beyond to embrace diversity. 

The Diverse Community Leaders Award honors individuals or groups who have made extraordinary contributions to Orange County in human or civil rights.  Among the six that were honored was Farrah N. Khan of Irvine, CA.

As a Community Services Commissioner for the city of Irvine, Farrah brought her interfaith and intercultural interests to the position, providing a broad base of inclusion to the group. She recently moved into her new role as the Executive Director of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council, covering Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine.  Farrah is, among her many other roles, the founder of First Drops, a children’s interfaith community service organization. Farrah began this group for her two young sons’ friends and classmates and it continues to grow rapidly to include children of all faiths and various ages.

The children engage in learning about one another’s religion and work together on community service activities, such as serving hot meals to homeless families in Santa Ana once a month. With adult assistance, the children themselves serve the food, interact with people who are experiencing homelessness, and distribute clothing, blankets, and toiletries. Through First Drops, she is teaching children to be compassionate and supportive of hate crime victims and to learn about and appreciate all faiths. Farah is passionate about increasing intergroup understanding and works with many other people and organizations to promote appreciation of diversity.  She also regularly invites non-Muslims to visit mosques with her in order to dispel myths and misconceptions about Muslims and to reduce Islamophobia in the community. She and her four colleagues recently created a Muslim women’s leadership group in her community, Council of Muslim Women, focusing on providing educational and inspirational programs on a monthly basis. 

Other awardees included Gloria Banks, The Bravo Family, De Colores Organization, Father Michael Mai Khai Hoan, Nicholas Academic Centers, Savannah High School, Officer Jenny Lindsey of the Irvine Police, Union Bank, PIMCO and US Bank.

The OC Human Relations Commission was founded in 1971 as an official governmental commission by the Board of Supervisors in collaboration with the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities.  The Commission’s role includes conducting hearings on civil and human rights issues; taking positions on challenging human relations issues; studying contentious issues relating to discrimination, intolerance and prejudice; mediating conflicts; educating institutions and individuals in Orange County about issues pertaining to change, diversity, fear and bigotry.  More information about the Commission and on the Awardees can be found at http://www.ochumanrelationsawards.org/ .

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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