Friday, April 14, 2017

HRRC Recognizes High School Junior with Tom Oye Award

Edina, Minn., April 13, 2017 – The Human Rights & Relations Commission (HRRC) awarded Saumya Mangalick the Tom Oye Human Rights Award for her efforts to make education and resources available to visually impaired girls in India and founding the local chapter of Girl Up, a campaign organized by the United Nations Foundation.

“Two years ago, Saumya Mangalick learned about the unique challenges people with visual impairments -- especially girls -- face. Through her own initiative, she partnered with the Jeevan Jyoti Institute for the disabled in India, learning that in poorer parts of the world many girls lose their eyesight due to malnutrition,” said HRRC Chair Jim Nelson during the award ceremony at the 38th-annual Volunteer Awards Reception. “She soon became an advocate for the rights of girls and the visually impaired and organized fundraisers to assist blind girls in India. She also spent some of her summer working with the blind girls at Jeevan Jyoti, initiating fundraisers, learning about the education for the blind and how to make it more accessible for the impoverished throughout the world.”

Mangalick also recently founded and serves as president of Girl Up Edina. Girl Up is a campaign to engage girls to take action, stand up for those in need and raise awareness and funds.

“Saumya is also leading several group volunteer days at local women’s shelters and actively contacting our legislators to support a bill ensuring education for refugee girls,” said Nelson. “All of this is an amazing accomplishment for anyone in our community, but I will make note of this amazing fact: she is a high school junior.”

“I have been so lucky to grow up in a community where diversity and compassion and hard work have always been taught to me in Edina schools,” said Mangalick when she accepted the award. “Now more than ever is a time for us to come together and work hard to support people in need. There is a lot happening in the world, but if the last couple months have taught me anything, it’s that one person with determination and hard work really can make a difference.”

The award was established in recognition of the late Tom Oye who helped found the HRRC in 1970 and served on it for more than 30 years. Oye was also a Nisei soldier in World War II, 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 by the Immortal Chaplains Foundation.

Mangalick received the award at the Volunteer Awards Reception held at Braemar Golf Course on April 3. Nominees were evaluated based on their efforts to foster respect and dignity for others, model courage and/or compassion in the advancement of human rights, and demonstrate leadership by example for improving human relations or advancing human rights.

For more information on the award, contact HRRC Staff Liaison MJ Lamon at 952-826-0360 or

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