Honoring Voices Inspiring Change



Leading. Inspiring. Fostering change.


Since 2013, the MPAC Empowering Voices Awards have honored political and cultural leaders working to perfect American pluralism. We bring together the nation's most influential advocates to celebrate causes and individuals who have worked with us to champion the American and Islamic values of freedom, justice, and equality for all.



This year, we honored Mehdi Hasan for his journalistic integrity, courage, and commitment to truth, Eric Treene for his commitment to protecting religious freedom at the Dept. of Justice, Rep. Zoe Lofgren for ensuring human dignity in immigration policies, and Dr. Debbie Almontaser for promoting pluralism in the political and civic process.


Watch the acceptance speeches

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Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is a community activist, advocate, entrepreneur, and educator who works across sectors in New York City. Dr. Almontaser has developed avenues for social exchange to encourage interfaith activism and outreach across the boundaries of race, ethnicity and religion.


Mehdi Hasan is a columnist at the Intercept, host of the podcast Deconstructed and TV shows UpFront and Head to Head on Al Jazeera TV. Hasan’s tenacity and courage in reporting represent the best tradition of journalism.


Rep. Zoe Lofgren has been a civil servant for over two decades, having first been elected to represent California’s 19th District in 1994. Over the last three years, she has been a steadfast ally for American Muslims on Capitol Hill and an advocate for immigrants.


Eric Treene has been a steadfast government advocate for the religious liberties and human rights of American Muslims across three presidential administrations. Treene manages the Justice Department’s efforts to protect Muslims, Sikhs, Arab-Americans and Asian-Americans from discrimination and bias crimes.


Stosh Cotler | Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Stosh Cotler | Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Past Honorees

Past honorees include DNC Chair and then Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, NPR Journalist and "Serial" podcast creator Sarah Koenig, and civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), among many others.

Attendees include government officials, media professionals, civic leaders, community activists, and young leaders. The Awards also serve as an opportunity for like minded professionals to network and celebrate our wins.