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Posted on: September 24, 2020

Nominations Now Being Collected for Human Rights Award

Edina, Minn., Sept. 21, 2020 – The City of Edina Human Rights & Relations Commission (HRRC) is accepting nominations for the 2020 Tom Oye Human Rights Award, recognizing individuals or groups in the community whose good work promotes human relations and advances human rights.

“Having served on the Human Rights & Relations Commission for a few years now, I have been extremely impressed with the contributions the recipients have quietly made to our community,” said Commissioner Michael Epstein. “The dedication they show, while never looking for recognition, is outstanding. It has been an honor to be able to validate these contributions while keeping the legacy of Tom Oye in our hearts.

The award was established in recognition of the late Tom Oye who helped found the HRRC and served on it for more than 30 years. Oye was also a soldier in World War II, a second-generation Japanese American who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In 2003, Oye received the Prize for Humanity by the Immortal Chaplains Foundation.

Anyone who lives, studies or works in Edina, or who makes significant contributions to Edina, is eligible for the Tom Oye Human Rights Award. Nominees will be evaluated based on their efforts to foster respect and dignity for others in the advancement of human rights. The term “human rights” includes freedom from discrimination because of race, color, creed religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, family status or national origin.  

Previous Tom Oye Award recipients include Sanford Berman, Olivia Pierce, Arnie Bigbee, Saumya Mangalick, Lauren Morse-Wendt, Jessi Kingston, Tom McKenzie and Kristin Aarsvold, Alec Fischer, Joyce Repya, Dan Johnson, Karen Hazel, Kelly Fitzgerald, Rachael Pream Grenier, Sandy Schley, Shata Mohtadi and Emma Weisberg, Debby McNeil, Ellen Kennedy and Mary Ellingen. 

Nominations are due Monday, Nov. 9. The Tom Oye Human Rights Award Application can be found online at For more information or to receive a paper copy of the application, contact Lee at or 952-826-1622.

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