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2019 Human Rights Awards Presented
Members of Eden Prairie's Human Rights and Diversity Commission announced the 2019 Human Rights Award winners at the June 16 City Council meeting. The award recognizes a local individual, youth, nonprofit organization and/or business who have worked to create an inclusive community spirit through actions, activities or programs.
Human Rights Award winners were recognized for upholding the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto, which the City Council voted unanimously to reaffirm after the awards presentation.
Individual Award — Zina Nourkadi
Zina Nourkadi upholds the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto by devoting her time and energy to community-building initiatives that promote multicultural understanding among Eden Prairie residents. She is a strong advocate for English Language Learner students through her work at the school district's Education Center. She has also been involved in volunteer efforts aimed at issues impacting community elders, empowering Somali women and addressing human rights issues. In her work with New American Development Center, she has promoted affordable housing, entrepreneurship and business development programs.
Youth Award — Claire Willett
Claire Willett upholds the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto by using her voice to advocate for those who are marginalized based on race, religion, ethnicity and national origin. In partnership with World Without Genocide, she has worked to bring awareness to discrimination and violence against women. She has given presentations to her peers and community groups to encourage support for the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. She has also brought awareness to the dangers of child marriage by speaking at a press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol. She is a shining example of a young adult who uses her voice to participate in civic engagement.
Nonprofit Award — ESTHER Homes
ESTHER Homes upholds the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto by providing safe, stable housing to pregnant women and single mothers experiencing crisis or exiting homelessness. ESTHER Homes is committed to building caring relationships that promote family stability. Staff live onsite at the Eden Prairie location and provide their residents with practical support, advocate for their clients’ goals and dreams, and offer encouragement when life feels overwhelming. They use their experience to advocate for housing solutions and participate in civic and organizational partnerships. By creating a community of support, ESTHER Homes makes it possible for women and young children to thrive.
Business Award — Umi's Boutique
Umi’s Boutique upholds the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto by providing a convenient location for Somali-Americans to shop locally for their clothing needs, and hosting events to encourage community conversation and relationship-building. A local small business that is owned by female entrepreneurs from Eden Prairie’s immigrant community, Umi’s Boutique features clothing styles from all over the world and provides options for men, women and children. They have hosted cultural events such as World Hijab Day, where they welcomed the community to learn more about the hijab and showcased different styles of hijab, turbans and scarves.
Nominations for the Human Rights Award can be made by persons on behalf of themselves or others. Nomination materials are made available in January each year and award recipients are selected by the Human Rights and Diversity Commission in March.