ELLIOTT-BLACK AWARDThe Elliott-Black Award was established in 1971 to honor two long-term and highly esteemed Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, the late John Lovejoy Elliott and Algernon D. Black. It is given by the American Ethical Union as a recognition and tribute to an individual in the larger community who has made a significant ethical contribution to society at personal risk and hardship. A list of previous recipients is given below.
Algernon D. Black (1900-1993) -- received his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1923. Among his lifelong activism in race relations, housing discrimination, as Ethics Teacher and Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, he was also the founder of Work Camp for Democracy 1939; Work Camps for America 1940-41; and the Encampment for Citizenship in 1946.
John Lovejoy Elliott (1868-1942) -- in addition to his leadership role at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, is best known for his work on New York's West Side. He worked with boys' clubs until he had established a center for clubs and inter-clubs activities and families. Hudson Guild Neighborhood House (incorporated in 1896) was the first result of his social work. He helped the people organize to help themselves, established the League of Mothers' Club among the settlements (1913) and founded the School for Printers' Apprentices (1912). One of his last acts, at the age of seventy, was to rescue two Leaders of the Vienna Ethical Society who had been imprisoned under the Nazi terror. He traveled to Germany, met the Nazi authorities and obtained the release of his associates.
Aubrey M. Daniels III, for his courageous statement to President Nixon that the workings of American jurisprudence cannot be subverted to political purposes, that the "United States must be a government of laws, not men."
Peter H. Bridge and Earl Caldwell were joint recipients for their courageous stand of facing, and in the case of Peter Bridge, going to jail rather than reveal their source of information for newspaper stories.
Henry Durham, for blowing the whistle on the boondoggling of large companies on Government money and calling attention to the defects of the C5 Lockheed plane that subsequently crashedin Vietnam with numerous orphans on board.
Jerrold terHorst, for resigning his post at White House Secretary to President Gerald B. Ford when he learned from outside sources that the President intended to pardon Richard Nixon.
Joan Claybrook, for her spirited advocacy in the pursuit of social justice and her courage inconfronting vested economic and political interests.
Dr. Luis Reque, co-founder and executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, received the Award in recognition of the extreme activism with which he fought for human rights in the turbulent countries of Brazil, Cuba, and Chile.
Father Bruce Ritter, who created a shelter for thousands of homeless teenagers in the Times Square area of New York City.
Karen Silkwood was granted the Award posthumously. Her life was tragically cut off when she attempted to blow the whistle on safety hazards in a nuclear facility.
Michael Pertschuk, the then Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, in honor of his work in the regulation of businesses to the benefit of the ordinary consumer.
Robert C. Eckhardt, U.S. Congressman from 1966 to 1980, received the Award for his civic courage as defender of the United States Constitution and protector of the well being of the common people and his resistance to the pressures of powerful special interest groups.
Eugene Babb and Stephen Joseph, MD, for their courage and integrity in resigning their positions with the United States Agency for International Development when the United States cast the only vote against the resolution to stop marketing infant formula in the Third World Countries at the United Nations World Health Assembly in Geneva in May, 1981.
Joann Bell in recognition of her firm stand supporting the separation of church and state despite extreme persecution she suffered as a result of her actions.
Professor Robert E. White, for his strength and courage in demanding that the United States should insist on the improvement of human rights in El Salvador before giving that country any money or aid. Because of his action, he was recalled as Ambassador.
Mary Sinclair, in recognition of her 15-year opposition to the construction of a nuclear electrical plant in Midland, Michigan by the Consumers Power Company. She persisted in her efforts despite personal attacks on her, harassment of her children, her husband's loss of clients in his law practice, and bomb threats. In July 1984, Mrs. Sinclair emerged as the victor when the Consumers Power Company abandoned the project.
Dr. Helen Caldicott, for her sustained and outstanding effort, pursued in the face of opposition, to raise human consciousness to the threat of nuclear war. Her campaign to stop the arms race included the founding of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament, and the authorship of Missile Envy (1984) and Nuclear Madness (1978).
Dr. Matthew Ies Spetter, for unwavering devotion to ethical principles, both before and during his thirty-five years of Leadership in the Ethical Culture Movement. For his efforts locally, nationally, and internationally to help heal and rescue the human spirit, and for his courage during the time he was in the Dutch underground during World War lI.
Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan, U.S. journalists, investigated the attempted assassination of dissident contra leader Eden Pastora at La Penca, Nicaragua. They have been the target of death threats, have had to send their children to safety in the U.S. (they were based in Costa Rica). Their investigation resulted in the Christic Institute's civil lawsuit against the private network behind the Iran/Contra scandal.
Ginny Durrin, a Washington, DC filmmaker who documents the urgent issues confronting the nation today: the plight of the homeless; AIDS; teenage drunk driving; and workers' rights.
Derrick A. Bell, for outstanding devotion to ethical principles and for his compassion and courageous example, costly in mental, monetary, and career commitment, in choosing an unpaid leave to protest the failure of Harvard Law to appoint a black female professor to its tenured faculty.
Dr. Margot O'Toole, for moral courage and steadfastness in upholding honesty and integrity in raising valid questions -- at great personal sacrifice-- in her scientific community regarding research that needed to be reevaluated. She is honored for her determination in the face of great opposition in her search for truth in scientific research and in her everyday life.
Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, for her demonstrated courage and leadership addressing sensitive public health issues; for advocating the right of young people to share knowledge and communicate openly and for outstanding devotion to ethical principles.
Judge Abner J. Mikva, for outstanding devotion to ethical principles and lifelong commitment and advocacy on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged and the oppressed as a lawyer, congressman, judge, and legal counsel to the President of the United States.
Daryl Davis, for displaying extraordinary moral courage in combating racism, for teaching, through his actions and writing, the importance of reaching out to those who disagree with us, and for advancing the cause of racial equality.
The Innocence Project, a clinical law program for students at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University, which provides pro bono legal assistance to inmates who are challenging their convictions on the basis of DNA testing of evidence. Founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck, Professor of Law, and Peter J. Neufeld, Esq., the Innocence Project has represented or assisted in some 40 cases where convictions have been reversed or overturned.
John M. Swomley, who for over 60 years has been a world class peace and justice activist, humanist, respected speaker and prolific writer. His thoroughly researched analysis is well known to the readers of the Humanist and The Human Quest magazines and his monthly Facts for Action. He is a nationally recognized leader on the issues of Separation of Church and State, and Freedom of Religion.
Sam Daly-Harris, president and co-founder of RESULTS Educational Fund, which is dedicated to strategies for ending world hunger. He is the author of Reclaiming our Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government, about which President Carter said "(Daley-Harris) provides a road map for global involvement in planning a better future."
Franklin Kameny, Ph.D., a leader in the gay rights movement since the 1950s. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Kameny organized the first gay demonstration in front of the White House in 1965 and successfully lobbied to get the ACLU to support the effort to end antigay discrimination in federal employment.
Kathy Kelly, a teacher, activist for peace, and war tax refuser, Ms. Kelly has risked fines and jail for nonviolent protests in Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, and Palestine as well as in this country. She helped initiate the Voices in the Wilderness campaign to end UN/US sanctions against Iraq, and helps coordinate the Voices for Creative Nonviolence campaign. In 2005 she published "Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad to Pekin Prison" -- where she served three months in 2004 for attempting to close a military training school in Ft. Benning, GA.
The Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981 to promote press freedom around the world and to defend the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. Through its defense of journalists, CPJ upholds the right of all people to have access to independent sources of information, an essential part of a free society. Using stringent reporting standards, CPJ's staff of journalists and human rights activists conducts intensive investigations into hundreds of press freedom violations each year. CPJ effectively calls attention to these abuses by publicly denouncing attacks against the press and by acting on behalf of imprisoned and threatened journalists.
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to Death Penalty (NJADP) is a statewide grassroots organization with 12,000 members and 200 supporting organizations. In January 2007, the 13 member bipartisan New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission recommended that the death penalty in New Jersey be replaced with life in prison without parole. In December 2007, responding to the Commission's report, the Legislature passed in a bipartisan vote S-17, which would replace the death penalty with life without parole. On December 17, 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed the historic death penalty abolition bill into law, making New Jersey the first state to legislatively abolish the death penalty since 1965.
James J. Yee, a West Point graduate serving as the Muslim Chaplain for the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, witnessed and objected to the cruel and degrading abuses of detainees at the hands of the U.S. Military. For this, Chaplain Yee was accused of spying, espionage and aiding the Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners and subjected to the same sensory deprivation techniques that he reported against. After months of government investigation, all criminal charges were dropped and Chaplain Yee was awarded a second Army Commendation Medal for "exceptional meritorious service."
Thomas Warfield, the founder/artistic director of PeaceArt International – a national and global outreach, not-for-profit organization that works with both mainstream and marginalized community groups around the world. PAI works with children, the elderly, people with mental & physical disabilities, the homeless, AIDS/HIV and other terminally ill patients, and incarcerated individuals by utilizing the arts and the creative process to develop awareness for the purpose of building world peace. PAI uses the performing arts to dismantle barriers, such as racial, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation and economic differences which are imposed on us by society and prevent our acknowledgement and enjoyment of our inherent human connection to all people.
Frances Fox Piven has been a consistent proponent of peace and justice, from her efforts against the Viet Nam war to her analysis of the destructive effects of military interventions. She has been vilified and targeted by those whose mission is to destroy progressive changes. She led academic and activist opposition for reforms that resulted in a major reduction in extreme poverty. She was one of the founders of Human Serve, an organization that promoted voter registration by citizens when they applied for various government benefits or for driver's licenses. In time this approach was incorporated in the National Voter Registration Act.
Robert Gangi, Senior Policy Advocate at The Urban Justice Center, is the founder of the Police Reform Organizing Project and a member of the United Social Service Board of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Mr. Gangi also served as the Executive Director of the Correctional Association (CA) for over 29 years and founded the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) at the Urban Justice Center. He has been an activist, community organizer and public policy advocate in NYC for over 40 years. Bob’s deep concern for the high ideals of justice and his belief in the dignity of every human being has brought public attention to and the reduction of the expense and wastefulness of prison and jail expansion. He is a recognized expert on criminal justice and law enforcement issues with a particular focus on police and prison concerns.
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