April 9, 2014
The 2014 Humanitarian Award will be presented to Melanie Nelkin, co-founder and current chair of the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide (GC2PG) on May 2, 2014, at the State Official "Days of Remembrance"Holocaust Observance.
The Humanitarian Award is presented annually by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust to individuals or groups that have demonstrated the spirit of humanity through volunteer work, advocacy, leadership and/or philanthropy in their community, thereby fighting indifference, intolerance and injustice.
The GC2PG’s mission is to build a permanent anti-genocide constituency in Georgia and depends on citizen support to engage elected officials at the state and national levels through advocacy and action and by creating awareness within the community.
In 2014, GC2PG initiated the 3rd annual state resolution, HR 1350, to recognize April as “Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month” in Georgia. The proclamation was sponsored by Senator Jason Cart and Representative Stacy Abrams with support from the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, American Jewish Committee, ACCESS, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Temple Sinai, Atlanta Eternal-Life Hemshech, National Council for Jewish Women, STAND, Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta, Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition and Fayetteville High School.
Nelkin’s interest in the history of genocide began as a docent at The Breman Holocaust and Jewish Heritage Museum in 1996. She credits her involvement in the Jewish community as an important catalyst behind her activism. In 2009 she became a fellow of the inaugural Carl Wilkens Fellowship Class, which connected her with a cohort of activists across the Unites States, with a focus on building tools for communities to stop and end genocide. That year GC2PG’s advocacy efforts resulted in the passage of a Georgia State Senate Bill which disqualified new Georgia contracts with the most egregious companies from doing business with Sudan. In 2011, she was instrumental in founding the Genocide Prevention Institute, which was created to educate and empower communities with advocacy and action tools to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. In November of 2012 she helped the Georgia Sudanese and South Sudanese Diaspora organize the United Sudan and South Sudan Communities Association (USASSCA) in Georgia.
Nelkin is co-chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta, vice president of the Atlanta Regional Office of The American Jewish Committee, and a member of Women’s Solidarity Society of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Carl Wilkens Fellowship Advisory Council.