Beaverton’s four diversity awards presented Monday night honored citizens working to encourage cultural understanding, diversity awareness, tolerance and acceptance.

The Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission presented its annual Individual Achievement Award to former Southridge High School theater director Wade Willis. Its Business and Industry Award was given to IBM Beaverton’s Women in Technology Diversity Group.

For the first time, the commission also presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Beaverton Police Sgt. Adam Spang. Mayor Rob Drake recognized the Bilal Mosque Association with the Mayor’s Diversity Award. . .

Promoting cultural understanding and acceptance has also been a major priority for the Mayor’s Diversity Award recipients.

Since 2001, the Bilal Mosque Association in Beaverton has served as a community leader and partner in an interfaith effort to embrace the city’s growing diversity and encourage efforts to support mutual understanding among diverse groups and faith communities.

The Bilal Mosque has led and participated in 320 events, fostering a dialogue to help clear public misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

“The Bilal Mosque is unfaltering in the community effort,” said Mayor Rob Drake.

Emily Gottfried, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, agreed.

“They’ve been a power house in promoting understanding,” Gottfried said. “They have been willing to share their story and hear other people’s stories. They are tirelessly working to make this a better a community.”

Being recognized meant a great deal to the Bilal Mosque Association.

“This is a wonderful way of all of you telling us that we are home,” said Shahriar Ahmed, during a reception following the presentation. “We are very proud and very thankful.”


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