FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Community leaders gathered at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Friday morning to celebrate the work of those who are trying to create a more diverse Fort Wayne.
The 2021 Welcoming Fort Wayne Diversity Awards celebrated the achievements of exceptional immigrants and refugees and organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to multiculturalism and welcoming others to Fort Wayne. Three awards were presented on Friday morning: the “Lifetime Achiever Award,” the “Welcoming Fort Wayne Emerging Leader Award,” and the “Welcoming Organization Award.”
Fey Fey Moussou, a volunteer at St. Augustine Chruch, was honored with the Lifetime Achiever Award. During the award ceremony, Moussou shared his backstory on how he emigrated to the U.S. after spending his childhood in Benin and Senegal in Africa. His experience of adjusting to American life in Fort Wayne has inspired him to help other immigrants and multicultural residents who are facing those same hardships today.
“We’re all coming from somewhere, and diversity is really the element, the glue that keeps a community growing,” Moussou said. Acceptance, respect and all within diversity, religion, creed, color, whatever we are, that’s what Fort Wayne’s about.”
Moussou was recognized for his work in organizing an annual African Food Festival, which features a vareity of African recipes as well as music featuring traditional West African instruments.
Malak el-Taleb, a volunteer member at AMANI Family Services, was recognized with the Emerging Leader Award. El-Taleb was recognized for advocating on behalf of immigrants and refugees living in Fort Wayne.
Finally, the Fort Wayne Sport Club and Friends of the Third World received the Welcoming Organization Award. The Fort Wayne Sport Club was established in 1927 to unite communities through soccer.
Friends of the Third World operates training programs for foreign born area residents and markets handmade crafts from 80 partner organizations in 35 countries.
Other individuals and organizations nominated for the Diversity Awards include: Three Rivers Art Center for Kids or TRACK, Friends of Afghanistan, So Min Oo, Win Tun Nyunt, Lahmay Moo, Dr. Mieko Yamada, Yin Yin Moe, Cynthia Villanyueva, Sarah Castillo, Marian Waltz and Dorothy Kittaka.