CommunityNashville holds 45th annual Human Relations Awards

Herschell Warren (center), with his family, holds his CommunityNashville Human Relations Award (photo by Joyce Perkins)

Herschell Warren (center), with his family, holds his CommunityNashville Human Relations Award (photo by Joyce Perkins)

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Since 1972 Community Nashville has been dedicated to advocating for and raising awareness of issues of bias, bigotry, racism and threats to human rights in the region. CommunityNashville’s nationally recognized Building Bridges program works with youth; helping them face their own feelings, as they learn about the root causes of prejudice, become more understanding and learn to respect others.

Each year the Foundation holds a Human Relations Awards dinner program and fund-raiser. It is designed to honor Nashville leaders for their courage and commitment to fighting bias, bigotry and racism. It also serves to help fund the important work of the Building Bridges programs at the Oasis Center.

This year’s 2016 Human Relations Award Honorees are four of Nashville’s outstanding leaders in the fight for Human Rights. They are (alphabetically): Rev. Bill Barnes, Rashed Fakhruddin, Abby Rubenfeld, and Hershell Warren.

The Reverend Bill Barnes, native of Nashville, Methodist minister, civil rights activist, life-long instigator and servant of social and civil justice is founding pastor of Edgehill United Methodist Church, an award-winning interracial, interclass, inner city, reconciling church, known as an advocate for the poor and marginalized; a leader in racial justice issues, and champion of the rights of the disenfranchised.

Rashed Fakhruddin, founding board member of American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), which helps to build strong interfaith relations through open houses, presentations, and other community services, is a volunteer through Habitat for Humanity, 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Family of Abraham and other organizations; and President of the Islamic Center of Nashville and co-founder of MYNT – Muslim Youth Group.

Abby Rubenfeld, Nashville-based attorney focusing on family law, sexual orientation, and AIDS-related issues, was one of the lawyers that handled the suit seeking recognition of same-sex marriages in Tennessee and across the nation, resulting in 2015’s landmark Supreme Court decision.

Hershell Warren, Community Relations Liason in the Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement for Mayor Megan Barry, was formerly a Senior Advisor to Mayor Karl Dean, has long been an active participant in organizations and causes affecting Human Relations in Nashville. Hershell served on the Metro Human Relations Commission for five years, also acting as interim executive director, as well as the of the ACLU Foundation of Tennessee. His participation with Community Nashville includes chairing the HR Awards Dinner, serving on the board, the honoree nominating committee and providing consistent support.

Hershell was the director of public policy and governmental affairs for Meharry Medical College. While there he also served as executive director for the Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center, where he helped develop several specialized treatment programs for women with dependent children.

He served on the Health Care Task Force of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators and worked on statewide health care initiatives for the Office of Minority Health and the Black Health Care Commission.

CommunityNashville is a volunteer organization, committed to continue its outreach and advocacy work with a focus on their role as conveners on issues of human rights. Call them at 615-327-1755 or Email them at: