The Suzy & Wally Marks Jr. Trailblazer Award

NewGround‘s first Virtual Trailblazer Award Ceremony, honoring journalist Ezra Klein & comedian Hasan Minhaj, took place in December 2020. 

It is available to stream on Facebook. 

Happy watching!

At NewGround, we believe that conflict is natural and inevitable. Yet it is not intractable – no matter the history. Being stuck is a choice. Therefore, we build relationships between Muslims and Jews in order to transform communities through lasting partnerships. The unique Trailblazer event and its program offer attendees the opportunity to interact with Change-makers and learn how their inspirational work is transforming communities through the power of relationships. The luncheon will leave you with a renewed sense that change is possible, and that Muslims and Jews working together can make an extraordinary impact!

About the Award:

NewGround named the award after Suzy and her late husband Wally Marks Jr. z”l. They have long been one step ahead of the trends to usher us all toward a more just society. Back in 2006 when Muslim-Jewish relations were at their most toxic levels, Suzy and Wally had the foresight to seed fund NewGround to equip Change-makers with the skills, resources, and relationships needed to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations.

Our 2020 Honorees: 

Ezra Klein

Journalist, Founder, Vox Media

Ezra Klein is the editor-at-large and founder of Vox. Before that, he was columnist and editor at the Washington Post, a policy analyst at MSNBC, and a contributor to Bloomberg. He’s written for the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and appeared on Face the Nation, Real Time with Bill Maher, The McLaughlin Report, The Daily Show, and many more. In his book, Why We’re Polarized, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, Klein offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture.

Hasan Minhaj


Hasan Minhaj is a comedian and host of Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. After working as a stand-up comic and appearing in minor television roles, he came to prominence for his work on The Daily Show as its senior correspondent from 2014 to 2018. Minhaj was the featured speaker at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. His first stand-up comedy special, Homecoming King, debuted on Netflix on May 23, 2017 received positive reviews from critics, and earned him his first Peabody Award in 2018. Minhaj left The Daily Show in August 2018 to host the weekly comedy show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which debuted on Netflix on October 28, 2018. In April 2019, he won his second Peabody Award for Patriot Act, and he was listed among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Parenting & Race Panel

“Change-Maker Award” Recipient

This past year, Azizah Ali-Regan, Khulood Madany, Marissa Tiamfook Gee, and Inez Tiger shared their experiences with racial bias and offered insights about how to help our children navigate race in a different way. They offered their opinions and suggestions on anti-black racism in both the Jewish and Muslim communities, beginning a conversation we will carry into the next year.


Past Trailblazer Honorees:


Dr. David Myers & Dr. Sadegh Namazikhah, with Change-maker Award Recipient: Julia Meltzer & the Zeno Family


Melissa Balaban & the Aga Khan Council for the Western USA, with Change-maker Award Recipient: The Day School Exchange 


Nancy Berman and Alan Bloch


Dr. Judith Glass and Nasreen Haroon


We convene dedicated activists and community leaders at NewGround’s premiere event celebrating the triumphs of our change-makers and honoring those who made it all possible. This unique luncheon and program offer attendees the opportunity to interact with change-makers and learn how their inspirational work is transforming communities through the power of relationships. The afternoon cultivates a renewed sense that change is possible and that Muslims and Jews working together can make an extraordinary impact!


Trailblazer Award Attendees Photo

Get inspired. Make an impact. Blaze your trail.