St. Paul Foundation’s ‘Facing Race’ Honors CAIR-MN’s Former Civil Rights Director

By Engage Minnesota

The Facing Race Ambassador Award is an annual award made by the Saint Paul Foundation to celebrate and honor the leadership of individuals working toward racial equity. The Facing Race anti-racism initiative seeks to create a racially equitable community in which everyone feels safe, valued and respected. Highlighting the valuable work of award recipients and honorees inspires discussion, dialogue and action around critical issues of race and racism.

This year’s Ambassador Awards celebration was held at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in downtown St. Paul on April 23, 2012.

This year, the St. Paul Foundation recognized Taneeza Islam, Esq, former Civil Rights Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota (CAIR-MN) with an honorable mention.

Taneeza worked full-time at the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, but also dedicated her spare time to volunteer for CAIR-MN. Since March 2008 to December 2011, Taneeza accrued over 3,000 hours of service to this community through CAIR-MN.  For Taneeza, it is not just about working with the Muslim community to know their rights but about building bridges with members of the great Minnesota community, who are directly interacting with Muslim populations in Minnesota: employers, care givers, educational institutions, and the media—a “two way street.”

“Stereotypes and misinformation are the foundations of inequity in all arenas. Those who believe in misinformation as fact usually do not take the extra steps to figure out if what they are learning is accurate. Therefore, it becomes an individual’s burden – or motivation – to break through that misinformation.”- Taneeza Islam

This is the third time CAIR-MN has been recognized by the St. Paul Foundation Facing Race Awards for efforts in combating racism, encouraging dialogue and striving for racial equity.

CAIR-MN is the state’s only Muslim civil rights advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Since its founding in 2007, CAIR-MN has become a force in protecting civil rights and empowering Minnesota Muslims through free legal assistance, advocacy and education. In the last year alone, CAIR-MN assisted over 400 crime victims and facilitated the resolution of 121 cases of religious discrimination. CAIR-MN’s work is striving to end racism and creating a racially equitable society. Get involved today! To learn more about CAIR-MN, visit www.cairmn.com


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