The MPAC Media Awards honoring Voices of Courage and Conscience…sure, I was involved last year, arguably more than this year. Last year, I was a co-emcee. So I was actually involved in most everything. And it was good, very good. We honored The Good Wife, Fordson and Miral, which was naturally dear to my heart because I was involved in the promotional campaign for the film. But I have to say that by all accounts, this year’s Media Awards was something else! Deeply satisfying in a way. It was a beautiful program hosted by Mike Farrell, the honorees were truly meaning, the guests accepting the awards spoke impassioned, heartfelt words and it just really felt like what it was supposed to, like what it set out to do! The honorees- Saving Face, the Oscar-winning doc about a plastic surgeon restoring the faces of acid-burn victims in Pakistan. Kinyarwanda, the Sundance winning feature about Muslims and Christians working together to save lives during the Rwandan genocide, and lastly, All-American Muslim.

I think for me personally, the event had a couple of extra bits that made it special. The first, is that in doing interviews with all the honorees, I researched the people and the works themselves, and then, spoke to them one on one. So I became invested in the stories and the people, in front of and behind the camera, and they grew so much in eyes, even beyond what they are to the public. And of course, the second thing is the award going to All-American Muslim. Not only was AAM a huge part of my daily life for months, but I was a part of so many frustrating discussions with the Muslim community about the value or lack thereof of this show for us, as American Muslims. And to see MPAC recognize so loud and clear the importance of it, was infinitely rewarding. To watch Amy Winter, the Head of TLC and Alon Orstein, the VP of Production and Development come to our microcosm, and accept an honor by us, for their representation of American Muslims on mainstream cable TV meant a lot…A LOT.

So on to more great works of art, more voices of courage and conscience, and more awards to come, that remind us that it can happen, it can be done, that Hollywood can and will shift as it has so many times before.

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