May 10, 2012 – City National Grove of Anaheim

Presented by:

On May 10, 2012 at the City National Grove of Anaheim, OC Human Relations brought together over 500 of Orange County’s diverse community and business leaders for AWARDS 41, a special gala event that honored the outstanding human relations efforts of seldom-recognized individuals, model community policing programs and exemplary school programs that create safe and inclusive environments for Orange County’s students and residents.

The 2012 Award Recipients:

Diverse Community Leaders Awards

Community Leader Awards honor individuals or groups who made extraordinary contributions to Orange County in human or civil rights. This year’s honorees are:

Dr. Silas H. Abrego

Dr Abrego has fostered an environment at California State University, Fullerton, in which all  students have felt secure, comfortable, and prepared to meet the rigors of their academic endeavors.  Under his leadership thousands of dollars of scholarships have been raised to enable low-income and DREAM Act students to attend college.

Reverend Dr. Sarah Halverson

Costa Mesa’s Dr. Halverson is a tireless and courageous advocate for civic and religious organizations and justice movements, such as the rights of the working poor, ethnic and religious minorities, women, the LGBT community, the homeless, immigrants, and other disenfranchised groups across Southern California.

Las Palmas’ Leadership Team

San Clemente’s Las Palmas’ Leadership Team (LPLT)  has worked diligently to help residents discover how to make positive changes through the power of community. The LPLT consists of San Clemente residents from the Las Palmas neighborhood and two volunteers, Isobel Pelham and Joan Thompson. Prior to the formation of the LPLT, the mostly low-income, Spanish-speaking residents of Las Palmas felt disconnected and isolated from the larger community.

The Honorable Judge Wendy S. Lindley

Judge Lindley,an Orange County Superior Court judge, has changed the face of the criminal justice system in Orange County. Through her work that includes Drug Court, DUI Court, Recovery/Opportunity Court, Whatever It Takes (WIT) Court, Homeless Court, and Veteran’s Court, she has used the court to encourage real and positive change among the lives of diverse Orange County residents.

Michael Penn

Orange resident, Michael Penn is the founder of the Interfaith Youth Council of Orange County, which has a goal of uniting young people “ come together to promote respect, understanding and appreciation for the integrity of each other’s beliefs, cultures and traditions through interfaith dialogue, education and activities.”

Vicki Tamoush

Tustin’s Vicki Tamoush is being recognized for her work in promoting interfaith understanding and acceptance.  Since 1978, Vicki has been active in over 25 pacifist organizations and boards dedicated to peace and social justice. She has been instrumental in documenting hate crimes against the Arab American community and has presented 500+ workshops on hate crimes and cultural diversity issues.  Vicki is also a founder of the Interfaith Witnesses group.

Venerable Dr. Thich Vien Ly

Dr Ly is a strong advocate for religious freedom, human rights, and democracy. Under his guidance at Dieu Ngu Buddhist Temple in Westminster, there are ceremonies to teach people about how live in peace, promote the good and eliminate the bad, and respect differences but to avoid differentiation, division and disputes.
Community-Policing Awards

Community-policing awards recognize departments that have tailored creative strategies to provide service and build positive relationships with their communities.  This year’s awardees are:

OC Sheriff’s Department Neighborhood Enhancement Team – NET

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Neighborhood Enhancement Team was created by the OC Sherriff’s and District Attorney’s offices to address gangs, crimes, and blight. Through the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP), which the Orange County Grand Jury recognized as one of the most effective gang prevention programs in the state, NET utilized a multi-disciplined approach which consisted of directed enforcement, gang reduction, community policing, and outreach. By working with 4th to 8th grade children, who are at risk for gang recruitment, GRIP has been able to educate children, parents and teachers and significantly decrease the likelihood of crime activity in the area in the past year.

Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department

As the third largest school police agency in California, the Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department strives to provide a safe and secure learning and working environment through a clearly demonstrated community-oriented policing philosophy. Since working with the GRIP, the department has been able to see a significant increase in student attendance, as well as test scores.
Distinguished School Awards

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

Centralia Elementary School - Buena Park

Centralia Elementary is a thriving school that cultivates a safe, welcoming, and equitable environment for its diverse student body. The school culture emphasizes “One School, One Community” by providing opportunities for parents’ involvement and engagement.  Centralia’s teachers formed an Invisible Mentor program allowing teachers to connect informally with select students to show that they care and to nurture a positive school culture through inter-group relations and cross-cultural activities.

Valadez Middle School Academy - Placentia

Valadez Middle School Academy’s staff, faculty, parents, and students have invested time, energy, and commitment to three essential areas: equity, inclusion, and safety. Their efforts to decrease obstacles related to educational success were solidified during the 2010-2011 academic year as they partnered with OC Human Relations to implement the “Stand Up, Speak Out, Reach Out” campaign focusing on inclusion, equity, and safety. They have employed techniques to decrease bullying and increase self-advocacy and peer advocacy, to increase peer-to -peer mentorship between 8th grade and 6th grade students, and brought global human relations issues into the classroom.

Magnolia High School - Anaheim

Magnolia High School has an extensive activities program that supports and honors students and their cultures. Students and staff work hard in multi-pronged efforts to support the model of kindness.  Magnolia’s Sents of Pride student organization, which is affiliated with OC Human Relations, is actively working to make Magnolia a safe, kind and inclusive school.  This year’s campaign about hurtful language, “That’s W.H.A.C.K.”  (Words Hurt and Can Kill) is having a highly visible impact on the campus.

A Big Thank You to Our Sponsors!


Related, Edison International


City National Bank, Hoag, Wells Fargo


California State University, Fullerton; Chevron; Disneyland Resort; Susan & John Reese; Southern California Gas Company; St. Joseph Health Care System; Anita Varela & Rusty Kennedy


Ralph and Charlene Bauer; California Sikh Council; Christ Our Redemeer AME Church; Chun Ha Insurance; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Islamic Society of Orange County; North Orange County Community College District; Orange County’s Credit Union; Schools First Federal Credit Union; The California Endowment; Whittier Law School; University of California, Irvine; Viridistor

Event Friends:

Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs; CBS2/KCAL9 Television Stations; Elegant by Design; City National Grove of Anaheim; Corporate Office Interiors; Kenneth Inouye

ViridiSTOR ( collaborated with OC Human Relations on the awards event.  Each guest received a ViridiSTOR USB as a table gift.  That USB contained content about each of our sponsors; the amount of content depends upon the level of sponsorship.
We are also very grateful to Pelican Hill, a Silent Auction sponsor, for their generous donation.  Encompassing the best of Southern California, Pelican Hill features two Fazio-designed golf courses, a Five-Star Spa, ocean-view terrace dining, a radiant circular pool, access to pristine beaches, magnificent meeting spaces and off-premise catering services – all within one Five-Diamond destination.  Check out their website at