Jamaal Abegaz, Ahmed Shiil, Kari Yates and the Police Athletics and Activities League have been honored as winners of Moorhead’s 2020 Human Rights Awards. The recipients were announced Monday by Human Rights Commission chair Cani Aden at the City Council meeting Monday, Dec. 14.
Two were honored in the civic/community category. Abegaz was recognized for his work as a community activist and leader of the local Black Lives Matter chapter and Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America. Shiil has helped to connect local organizations to the United Way of Cass Clay. He created a Covid-19 response team with seven immigrant organizations. He has worked to provide information to immigrants to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and has assisted with distributed food to those who have been infected.
Yates, who is director of elementary learning and accountability for the Moorhead school system, was honored in the education category for her work with the New American community. She has helped connect parents with the school district, volunteered in teaching English classes for New Americans, and assisted with food distribution for New American communities during the pandemic.
The Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities League received the award for a nonprofit. PAL provides opportunities for children to have one-on-one contact with law enforcement officers through programs such as Shop-with-a-Cop, the Cops and Kids hockey game, bike donations and more. PAL’s goal is to provide a positive influence, to empower relationships and reduce juvenile crime. Over 85% of officer time is donated off-shift and the remaining time is donated by the Moorhead Police Department. Almost 800 children were involved in its programs in 2019.