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Posted on: August 15, 2019

Nominations Now Being Collected for Human Rights Award

The City of Edina Human Rights & Relations Commission (HRRC) is accepting nominations for the 2019 Tom Oye Human Rights Award, recognizing individuals or groups in the community whose good work promotes human relations and advances human rights.

“This award recognizes people in our community who make human rights a priority. Since 2006, we have recognized individuals who have worked on affordable housing, race and equity issues, social justice and community outreach programs,” said Race & Equity Coordinator Heidi Lee, staff liaison for the HRRC. “I encourage everyone to submit an application. We all know someone -- and maybe it’s you -- who is working to support human rights. This award recognizes that.”

The award was established in recognition of the late Tom Oye who helped found the Edina Human Rights & Relations Commission (HRRC) in 1970 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 make significant contributions to Edina, is eligible for the Tom Oye Human Rights Award. Awards will be given in a student category as well as a community member category. Nominees will be evaluated based on their efforts to foster respect and dignity for others, model courage and/or compassion in the advancement of human rights, and demonstrate leadership by example for improving human relations or advancing 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 Arnie Bigbee, Saumya Mangalick, Lauren Morse-Wendt, Jessi Kingston, Tom McKenze 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 Friday, Oct. 11. 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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