I won a Society of Professional Journalism Lisagor Award for a series I did on an American Arab Grocer who claimed he was the victim of anti-Arab bias by the suburban village where his store is located. Had I not written the story, no one in the Chicagoland media would have “wasted” their time covering the complaint. No one would listen to him and for a year, he was being harassed. When I started writing the story, I discovered in fact he was targeted by village inspectors who he said and I believe were trying to shut him down. They arrested him and his wife and son in August 2009 after receiving a complaint that he was “storing” food (that was canned) in a vacant store next to his own. The 911 tapes of police showed – after weeks of trying to get them – that the police had targeted him for being “Arab” – they said they were going to “shut down” an “Arab store owner.”
The Lisagor Awards are the highest honors you can receive from a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Chicago Headline Club is the largest US Chapter. They were awarded last Friday April 23. This is my 4th Lisagor; I received three others for column writing. This one was awarded for In-Depth Reporting.
My awards include:
1984, Lisagor Award for Column Writing, Daily Southtown
2002, Lisagor Award for Column Writing, Arlington Heights Daily Herald
2004, Lisagor Award for Column Writing, Southwest News-Herald
2009, Lisagor Award for In-Depth Reporting, Southwest News-Herald
2006, Best Ethnic Columnist in America, New America Media
2009, Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award, the Mehdi Family
I have one more award that will be announced next week.
Thanks everyone for your support.
Thanks so much
-- Ray Hanania