About the Award:
The California Conference for Equality & Justice invites nominations for the Gene Lentzner Human Relations Awards, a celebration of individuals who have made significant contributions to improving human relations at the grassroots level. We invite you to nominate a grassroots champion who should be recognized for their contributions in the areas of social justice and human relations. The awards will be presented to community members at a Fall 2019 ceremony in Long Beach.
Nominees should have a track record of:
- Promoting respect and justice among all people regardless of differences in race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, nationality/migration status, gender or gender identity;
- Showing commitment to social justice and human relations by way of service (if through their work, then above and beyond their paid scope of work);
- Fostering inter-group and/or inter-faith cooperation;
- Serving Long Beach or the greater Southern California region.
To Submit Your Nomination:
About Gene Lentzner: Gene has been involved in social service, education, civil rights and human relations for most of his life. For more than 60 years, he has been dedicated to promoting racial, religious and cultural understanding even in the face of great resistance. His exceptional work in the area of human relations at a grassroots level was the impetus for the establishment of the Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award.
A recap of last year’s event:
Three distinguished honorees and one grassroots movement – Marisol Barajas, Emily Grijalva, Hieu Nguyen, and Rida Hamida on behalf of Latino Muslim Unity – were recognized with the 30th Annual Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award for the significant contribution they have made in improving human relations at a grassroots level in Southern California. Click here to learn more about this year’s honorees.
The always popular awards celebration began with entertainment by local saxophonist Brian Grace during cocktails and appetizers. The room was decorated in CCEJ’s colors- red, orange, purple and blue.
Kimmy Maniquis, CCEJ’s Executive Director, led the awards ceremony and opened the evening by welcoming guests and sharing news and updates from CCEJ’s programs. CCEJ’s Board Chair, Rosecarrie Brooks, welcomed the elected officers and dignitaries in the room and held a moment of silence to remember the victims of the mass shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27. She was followed by a short audience participation exercise led by CCEJ Board member Rashida Crutchfield and CCEJ team members, emphasizing CCEJ’s core values of Respect, Community, Justice and Transformation.
Gene Lentzner inspired the audience with his thoughts about the current state of human relations. The honorees were given heartfelt introductions by Sunny Zia, Regina Zamarripa Aguilar, Mieko Failey and Jessy Needham.
Nica Rumion was presented with the City of Long Beach Human Dignity Award by Teresa Gomez from the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and Amy Eriksen, Chair of the City’s Human Relations Commission.
CCEJ’s team closed the evening with a poem, “In Lak’ech.”
If you support grassroots leaders, help CCEJ continue celebrating their work by donating at this link.
You can watch speeches from Gene Lentzner and all of the honorees below: