The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice will honor five recipients of the Oklahoma City Humanitarian Awards during a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma City University.
The group will present the award to nominees who have shown leadership and courage in living and promoting the organization's mission of eliminating bias, bigotry and racism. The 2013 Humanitarian Award winners are Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, Mindy Harris-Silk, the Rev. Robert Long, J. David Macey Jr. and the Oklahoma Women's Coalition. Robert Henry, president of Oklahoma City University, will serve as emcee.
Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, owners of Home Creations, will be recognized for their leadership in creating Oklahoma City University's Endowed Chair in Islamic Studies and their efforts in bringing Iranian music and culture to the Oklahoma City metro area through concerts, films and other community programs.
Harris-Silk is receiving the award in recognition of her support of the National Conference for Christians and Jews, the predecessor organization of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. In addition, she has supported OCCJ's Camp Anytown, Oklahoma, which promotes self-esteem, good citizenship and leadership for high school students.
Long, senior pastor of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, has been a supporter of interfaith dialogue and understanding throughout his ministry. He has opened his church to a wide range of interfaith programs and service, and has personally brought together leaders of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith communities for discussion at St. Luke's.
Macey Jr., professor and chairman of the English department at the University of Central Oklahoma, is recognized for his work as an educator and activist, working to banish discrimination on the basis of race, class, sex, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or ability.
The Oklahoma Women's Coalition will be recognized for its efforts to create healthy, educated and empowered communities by advocating for policies that create a state where women can overcome the significant challenges they face. The coalition's goal is to provide a greater voice on behalf of women and girls regarding issues such as education, abuse, sex trafficking and health.
Russ Florence, chairman-elect of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice's Executive Committee, said the awards luncheon will help raise local public awareness about the center. The center is based in Tulsa but recently created an Oklahoma City branch. Florence is president and chief executive officer of the Schnake Turnbo Frank consulting firm.