City accepting nominations for Columbia individuals, organizations promoting diversity

Friday, October 7, 2011 | 3:11 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Division of Human Services is looking for nominations for the 15th annual Columbia Values Diversity Awards.

These awards recognize individuals and organizations whose promotion of diversity in the community reflects the life and teachings of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to a news release.

The winners of this award exemplify King's work by encompassing "individual dignity, racial equality, understanding, peacemaking and solving problems through non-violence" in their community work, the release stated.

Some of this work had to happen this year, but it is also expected that recipients' service stretches over a longer period of time, said Negar Rezvani, human rights specialist for the city's Division of Human Services, which is part of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services.

"We live in a diverse community, and it is important to bring as much recognition as possible to those individuals and organizations that promote tolerance," Rezvani said.

Two awards will be given, one for an individual and one for an organization, according to the release.

Last year's individual winner was the Rev. C. Richard "Dick" Blount, honored for his longtime work with the Open Door Ministry. The other award went to the MU Center for Multicultural Research, Training and Consultation for its endeavors to strengthen cultural awareness at MU and in the community.

This year's awards will be presented at the 19th annual Columbia Values Diversity Celebration, which will be held Jan. 12, 2012, according to the city's website. As in previous years, the event will include an artistic program. Mayor Bob McDavid will present the awards, Rezvani said.

Nomination forms for both the individual and organization awards are available online or by calling the Division of Human Services at 874-7488. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 29.

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Sally Willis October 7, 2011 | 4:00 p.m.

I nominate Paul Allure he needs something productive to do.

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