The City of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission will present its annual Community Service Awards on Monday, February 8. The awards will be presented to four individuals and two organizations to acknowledge their outstanding contribution to promote and protect human rights, social progress, better standards of life and equality for all individuals. The public is invited to attend the free 5:30 p.m. virtual ceremony on Zoom at link below:
Meeting ID: 875 8226 5932
The 2021 community service award recipients include the following outstanding citizens and organizations:
Find Food Bank is recognized for providing the children, working families, seniors, and homeless who chronically face hunger, with healthy, nutritious food resources not only helps them physically and mentally but also strengthens their household stability and raises the quality of their lives.
During the COVID-19 emergency, there have been many Coachella Valley residents struggling to make ends meet. FIND provides fresh food to local area residents who need assistance. Prior to COVID, 90,000 residents were supported. Now, since the onset of COVID-19, FIND has begun operating 44 community mobile markets with drive-through distributions, serving 190,000 individuals monthly.
Specifically, struggling residents in need of food assistance have the opportunity to get fresh food twice a month at a free mobile pantry that started April 2 in the Palm Springs area thanks to a City partnership with FIND Food Bank. The drive-through “Rapid Response Pantry” is helping thousands of families each month and operates on the first and third Thursday of each month in the parking lot across from the Palm Springs Convention Center. In addition, the City of Palm Springs partnered with FIND for a twice monthly mobile food pantry distribution at Desert Highland Unity Center.
Young Justice Advocates is a group of teenagers recognized for their leadership and activism to seeking unity in this world and speaking out about issues in the United States of America. On a Saturday morning, in June, the youth planned a peaceful protest in Palm Springs at Ruth Hardy Park to speak out against the killing of George Floyd and racial and economic inequality. They were joined by nearly a thousand protesters. Since June they have worked to raise awareness of racial and economic justice, police accountability, voter engagement, give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, and organized several other events including a Juneteenth celebration.
The group continues with its purpose of speaking out and trying to make a change in this world. They are currently led by three young adults Hina Malik, Areli Galvez, and Jazlina Morgan.
Lee Wilson Jr. is recognized for his commitment to community, education, youth, and our military. Inspired after the loss of two of his former students who were killed in action, PFC Ming Sun killed in Iraq in January 2007 and CWO2 Suresh Abayasekara Krause in Afghanistan in August 2012. Lee has devoted much of his time and talent creating the Fallen Heroes project to honor local service members. Lee has created banners displayed annually along Palm Canyon Drive to mark Memorial Day and Veterans Day as well as curating a permanent memorial at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The project documents and commemorates the sacrifices of 27 local individuals serving in conflicts where the United States has deployed troops.
Wilson is a Marine veteran, an educator at Cathedral City High School and he serves as the historian for Palm Springs American Legion, Post 519. His continued efforts to recognize and honor our local servicemen and women whose lives were lost fighting for our country’s rights and freedoms are commendable.
Jane Garrison demonstrated how an idea and belief that the City of Palm Springs belongs to all individuals inhabiting urban space can be turned into action. Her leadership led to saving Oswit Canyon in perpetuity for future generations as a protected open space for wildlife and for those who live in and visit Palm Springs. Her work fundamentally affects how people perceive the city, the way people interact with the environment, and how the urban landscape reflects an enhanced quality of life through protected and accessible open space.
As president and founder of Save Oswit Canyon, Garrison led the effort to preserve Oswit Canyon. From planning, organizing events, fundraising, and managing the strategic operation, Jane’s work supports a human rights standard of a healthy natural environment and the end result is an improved standard of living for all.
David Powell is recognized for his volunteerism and work to enhance the Palm Springs community experience. He is a behind-the-scenes volunteer that serves as the backbone of many organizations in Palm Springs. He volunteers at dozens of events and serves on numerous civic committees that impact the quality of life for others. He is the first to roll up his sleeves and volunteer while encouraging others to be involved and engage in community service.
Powell has been actively involved in a wide variety of local activities, including the Palm Springs Police Chief’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee, Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Diversity DHS, Safe Schools Desert Cities, the Community Leadership Council, OUTstanding Voices of Palm Springs, Cesar Chavez Breakfast Celebration, Transgender Community Coalition, and Cathedral City LGBT Days. His civic service includes work with the City of Palm Springs Business Retention Subcommittee and the Business Transition & Re-entry Task Force. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Desert Business Association, the LGBT Chamber of the Coachella Valley.
Keisha D Mimms is recognized as a true humanitarian in Palm Springs. To many adoring fans, she is known as Keisha D. She has been performing and giving back to communities in the Coachella Valley since moving to Palm Springs in 2004. The love she has for performing is equal to the love she has for giving back to others. For decades Keisha D has given her time to perform at charity events and fundraisers. She is passionate about helping others, especially youth in the community. When not on stage, you will find her mentoring high school students throughout Palm Springs Unified School District.
The pandemic has not stopped Mimms from using her music as a positive force. She performed in recent Project Bread virtual concerts to benefit musicians who struggling and don’t have income. Her Keisha D Scholarship Fund, at the Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, benefits under-served minority students interested in pursuing an education in music and performing arts.
About the Commission
Established in 1992, the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission is a nine-member commission of volunteer citizens, appointed by the city council for three-year terms. The commission’s mission is to promote and protect the diversity of our community and to improve human relations through education and community awareness. It meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday each month at Palm Springs City Hall. Meetings are always open to the public and anyone with a human rights issue or question is invited to participate and speak during public comments during each meeting.