Anchors JC Hayward, Paul Berry and Gordon Peterson got together Dec. 1 at the Ronald Reagan Building for the 25th Annual Olender Foundation Awards event.  Paul Berry was the emcee, JC Hayward was the recipient of the Generous Heart Award for her civic and charitable work, and Gordon Peterson was her honored guest at the head table.

Mayor-elect Vincent Gray stopped by on the way to his noon luncheon appointment with President Obama to present the award to JC Hayward and the D.C. Council’s resolution honoring the Olender Foundation for its work.  The Advocate for Justice Award 2011 was presented to the Human Rights Clinic of Bread for the City.  The Clinic assists refugees who have been persecuted in their native countries to obtain asylum and eventually become U.S. citizens. Two of the Clinic’s volunteers, Dr. Katalin Roth and attorney Laura Parcher accepted the award. Olender lauded Roth and Parcher as “unsung heroes whose great deeds are little noticed.”  Dr. Marshall Breger and Imam Mohamed Hag Magid received the Peacemaker 2011 Award for their efforts to counter growing Holocaust denial worldwide.  In August, Breger and Magid, joined by State Department Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal, led a delegation of Muslims and Jewish leaders to the Nazi camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, where the imams knelt and prayed for Holocaust victims.  The imams later issued a statement pledging “to make real the commitment of ‘never again’ and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.”

“At a time when anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, these peacemakers offer a ray of  hope,” said Olender. 

An Olender Foundation grant went to the Center for Interreligious Understanding. Lunch followed the award presentations in the atrium.