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Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson was honored earlier this week with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Empowering Voices Award, for his dedication to and personal investment in engagement with Muslim American communities across the United States.
During the 2015 Empowering Voices Gala and before White House representatives, Members of Congress, and civil society leaders, MPAC DC Director Haris Tarin and President Salam Al-Marayati recognized Secretary Johnson for his dedication to public service and empowering the Muslim American community through forums, discussions, and meetings throughout the country.
During the past year, Secretary Johnson has made it a personal priority to engage community organizations to promote local efforts and partnerships to counter homegrown violent extremism. Since June 2014, Secretary Johnson has traveled to Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Columbus, and Chicago, and has used these opportunities to hear from hundreds of community leaders, and understand how the Department can better serve their needs.
In addition to Secretary Johnson’s personal commitment to the issue, the award recognizes the Department’s continued efforts to engage with local communities on this important issue. The Department, through its Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), operates an interagency community engagement program anchored by regularly-held quarterly roundtables in 16 cities around the country. These roundtables, among other similar efforts undertaken by CRCL in partnership with all Department component agencies and offices, serve as a primary tool in the Department's efforts at building trust, explaining policies, clarifying misconceptions, and addressing grievances.
As Americans, we all have an equal stake in the safety and security of our country, and the protection of our family, friends, and neighbors. DHS and Secretary Johnson remain committed to fostering public engagement in countering the extremist narrative and encouraging continued positive engagement in society, and full participation in the democratic process. We continue to become a stronger nation, and a more perfect union, as a result.