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#HateFreeOC Profile in Courage Award

When two young Muslim women walked into an ice cream shop in Orange one May afternoon in 2016, they were just expecting to enjoy a treat. Instead, what they got was a taste of Islamophobia.

“I don’t want them in my country,” a man yelled at the women, who were wearing hijabs (head scarfs).

Cindy Ramsay, who owns Andrew’s Ice Cream along with her husband, Greg, said both she and her employee, Jesse Noah, refused to serve the man who was complaining about waiting in line behind the two women and was “saying negative things about them.”

“How could anyone be so angry and hateful toward someone you’ve never even met?” she said.

Noah escorted the man out of the store as he continued to shout at the two women, said Ramsay who also works as a special education teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Ana.

“After he left, the women came over and hugged me,” she said. “I told them there are bad apples in every barrel and not to judge all of us based on the actions of a few.”

The following Saturday, a line of customers at Andrew’s Ice Cream stretched far outside the door as the local Muslim community turned out in a show of unity and support. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had put together the “Ice Cream and Unity” social to honor all involved who took a stand against Islamophobia that afternoon.

Hussam Ayloush, CAIR’s Executive Director, said, “The store owner and employee who stood up for what’s right and showed there is no room for hatred in America,” he said. “This (Andrew’s) is a place that represents what America should be.”

“I’m so humbled and amazed at the output,” Cynthia Ramsay said, “It shouldn’t be a big deal because in America, we say ‘liberty and justice for all.'”

Noah is similarly humble about her role. “No, I don’t feel like a hero, I feel like I just did the right thing.”

OC Human Relations is proud to present our first #HateFreeOC Profile in Courage Award to Andrew’s Ice Cream for modelling “just doing the right thing.”

 It shouldn’t be a big deal because in America, we say ‘liberty and justice for all.’ – Cynthia Ramsay, Andrew’s Ice Cream owner.

About the Award

#HateFreeOC Profile in Courage Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have taken steps to cultivate a hate-free environment in Orange County, bring diverse communities together, and promote a safe, peaceful, respectful, and inclusive community for ALL of us to live, work, go to school and do business.

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