By Joe Snell | July 2022
An Assyrian activist on June 26 was presented the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor at a ceremony in downtown Chicago, joining the ranks of US Congressman John Lewis, journalist Ann Curry and Sir Winston Churchill.
Juliana Taimoorazy is the founder of Iraqi Christian Relief Council, an organization that supports displaced Christians and other minorities throughout Iraq and refugees in neighboring countries. She is also a UN delegate at Geneva. Last year, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I don’t see the medal for me, the medal is for my Assyrian people and for all those that continue to suffer,” Taimoorazy said. “Every time I look at it, it is my duty, my responsibility to answer the call.”
The Medal of Valor, presented annually at sites in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, recognizes individuals for their humanitarian work and for “stepping up against hate.”
“Many people have no idea about the plight of the Assyrian community,” said Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Director Alison Slovin. “How often do we talk about the genocide or oppression of others? That’s why it’s important to highlight the work of people like Juliana because we all need to be activists against the hate in this world.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization established in 1977 to honor ambassadors for peaceful coexistence. ABC7 Chicago, home to Assyrian journalist Diane Pathieu, was also awarded the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Community Service Award.
“It’s important for the Simon Wiesenthal Center to recognize the plight of others because so many stood silent during the holocaust when we knew what was going on,” Slovin said. “We cannot remain silent ever again against any genocide or oppression of any people.”