This year, South Florida will lose two iconic community leaders who decided to wrap up their illustrious careers and retire.
Roberta Shevin, executive director of MCCJ, sensitized the religious communities and rallied them to stand up for minorities and encouraged them to speak out in support of South Florida Muslims when they were targeted by bigots and hatemongers.
Shevin was instrumental in changing the name of Miami Coalition of Christian and Jews to MCCJ because it did not include Muslims as part of its outreach.
During her tenure, she made extraordinary efforts to include Muslims on the board of directors and Muslim clergy in its monthly clergy dialogue.
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The Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS) are proud of our partnership with MCCJ and valued her leadership and friendship.
For Shevin’s work and efforts in building bridges, COSMOS honored her in 2013 as Community Bridge Builder.
Howard Simon, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, championed the cause of civil liberties.
For his tireless work in defending the rights of Muslims and reaching out to the community, COSMOS honored Simon in 2014 for building bridges of understanding.
In these polarizing times, these two prominent people were unifying pillars when many of our political leaders found it expedient to demonize Muslims to advance their interests by dividing the communities and nation.
COSMOS is grateful to Shevin and Simon for their sincere efforts and virtuous leadership on behalf of unity in our community. They will be missed by all of us in South Florida.
We wish them happiness and hope that they will continue with their work during retirement.