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OC Human Relations Selects Eleven to Honor at 40th Anniversary AWARDS Gala

(Santa Ana)—OC Human Relations announced that it has selected eleven outstanding Orange County community members, schools, and community-policing projects for recognition at its 40th Anniversary AWARDS 40 celebration on Thursday, May 5, at the City National Grove of Anaheim. The ING Foundation will serve as the title sponsor for the OC Human Relations' awards celebration.

“For the last 40 years, we have celebrated the work of inspiring individuals and groups,” says Marcus Gonzalez, president of OC Human Relations. “For our 40th anniversary, we have assembled the most noteworthy group of honorees in our history. These truly are Orange County’s unsung heroes -- women and men who have selflessly invested their time and energy to help combat prejudice, intolerance and discrimination countywide.”

“ING is proud to sponsor AWARDS 40 in honoring this year’s recipients,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs. “ING shares OC Human Relations’ mission of empowering others in our community who work to create a better community for everyone, and we congratulate this year’s honorees.”

In honor of its 40th Anniversary, OC Human Relations is presenting aLifetime Achievement Award to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. “For almost 100 years, the Sisters have demonstrated their compassion by serving the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. Their endeavors range from healthcare to education to prison ministries. Through their partnerships with other Orange County organizations, the Sisters’ legacy will last another century,” says Gonzalez.

Another special award, The Civil Rights in History Award, will be presented to Sandra Robbie, the writer/producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children / Para Todos los Ninos. This previously little-known Orange County school desegregation case preceded the 1954 landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case by seven years.

Community Leader Awards

The Community Leader Awards honor individuals or groups who make extraordinary contributions to Orange County in human or civil rights. The awardees are:

  1. Ralph Bauer,“The Father of Human Relations in Huntington Beach,” has dedicated his adult life to creating an environment where all individuals have equal opportunities and are valued and treated with respect.
  2. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqihas served for the past 30 years in Garden Grove as the Imam of the first and largest mosque in Orange County. He has steadfastly worked with other faith leaders to build understanding of the commonality that exists between all religions, despite the political clashes that can drive wedges between them.
  3. Santa Anaresident Felipe Heras is a dedicated advocate for families of children with disabilities, particularly those of limited resources. Through his volunteer efforts with the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center, Heras has become a role model for parents and an outstanding leader in the Latino community.
  4. Sundaram Ramahas provided 16 years of service to Santa Ana’s, The Cambodian Family, a non-profit agency serving the refugee and immigrant communities. His dedication and leadership has given underprivileged and at-risk youth an opportunity to complete their education and become productive adults in their own communities.
  5. Dr. Thomas Parhamhas furthered the cause of civil rights in Orange County for over 26 years. His contributions to 100 Black Men, the Oden Commission, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church and many other organizations have left a rich legacy of social advocacy, community improvement and youth empowerment. Parham resides in Irvine.
  6. Mission Viejo’sRabbi Allen Krause recently retired as Rabbi of Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo; there he was a trailblazer in seeking common ground between other communities of faith. His accomplishments include co-founding the South County Interfaith Clergy, holding interfaith dialogues and leading an interfaith group on a volunteer expedition to Mexico.

Distinguished School Awards

The Distinguished School Awards recognize exceptional contributions to promoting, nurturing, protecting and/or cultivating a campus that is safe, welcoming and equitable. The awardees are:

  1. LosAmigos High School (Garden GroveUnified School District)for their three-year campaign, “Educate to Empower.” This campaign promotes the idea that education should encourage students to be “teachers” who can help educate their peers.
  2. NewportHarbor High School(Newport-Mesa Unified School District) for its efforts to end the toxic language that fills so many high school campuses. Their campaign “That’s W.H.A.C.K.” (Words Hurt And Can Kill) honored the many students across the nation who have committed suicide as a result of being bullied.

Community-Policing Award

The Community-Policing Award recognizes departments that have tailored creative strategies to provide service and build positive relationships with their communities.

This year's recipient, the Tustin Police Department, is being recognized for “Project Alliance,” a successful partnership between law enforcement, city departments and community-based organizations to reduce crime and increase the livability of Tustin's Alliance Avenue neighborhood.

The evening will feature entertainment by Relampago de Cielo, offering Mexican folkloric dance and the smooth jazz of the Ron Kobayashi Trio.

Additional sponsors of AWARDS 40 include: The Related Companies of California; Crevier BMW;University of California, Irvine;Orange County’s Credit Union; Kay Carpenter; North Orange County College District; California State University, Fullerton;SDG&E and the Gas Company;Disneyland Resort; Susan and John Reese;andChrist Our Redeemer AME Church.

For more information about AWARDS 40, the award recipients or to schedule interviews with the

honorees, please contact Don Han at (714) 796-8361, don@ochumanrelations.org or Rusty Kennedy at (714) 567-7465, rusty@ochumanrelations.org. or visit www.ochumanrelations.org.

About OC Human Relations

Since 1971, OC Human Relations has worked to build bridges of understanding to promote a vision of our community where all people are valued and included and our diversity is realized as a source of strength. For more information, visit www.ochumanrelations.org. Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ochumanrelations or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WeAreOneOC.

About ING

INGis a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 107,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 30 million customers across the nation.

ING’s diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer.

For more information, visit ing.us.

About the ING Foundation

The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on sustainable programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education and diversity. For more information, visit
www.ing-usafoundation.com, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/act2impactor follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/INGact2impact.

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