Nominations to be collected for Edina human rights award | Free

On September 27, the Edina Human Rights and Relations Commission will begin accepting nominations for the 2021 Tom Oye Human Rights Award, recognizing individuals or groups in the community whose good work promotes human relations and advance human rights.

“One of the highlights of being a member of the Commission on Human Rights and Relations is the honor of awarding a recipient with the Tom Oye Award,” said Michael Epstein, chair of the advisory group.

The award, named in honor of the late Tom Oye, who helped found the commission and served on it for over 30 years, is presented annually to an individual whose actions reflect human rights in the community.

“Often times these people are overlooked and it has been a wonderful experience to learn and recognize these people who work quietly behind the scenes to make Edina a more welcoming place through their courage and determination,” said Epstein.

Oye was also a Second World War Soldier, a second generation Japanese American who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In 2003, Oye received the Prize for Humanity from the Immortal Chaplains Foundation.

Anyone who lives, studies or works in Edina, or who makes a significant contribution to Edina, is eligible for the Tom Oye Human Rights Award. Applicants will be assessed on the basis of their efforts to foster respect and dignity for others in the advancement of human rights. The term “human rights” includes the absence of discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, status vis-à-vis public assistance, family situation or national origin.

Nominations are expected on Monday, November 8. The nomination for the Tom Oye Prize for Human Rights can be viewed online starting September 27 at For more information or to receive a hard copy of the request, contact Heidi Lee at or 952-826-1622.

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