Representative John Lewis. Rep. John Lewis is recognized as one of the most important, courageous and inspiring leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with his emergence as a leader of the Nashville Sit-Ins in 1960, John Lewis played a central role in the pivotal events of the Civil Rights era, from the Freedom Rides to the March on Washington, where, at 23 years old, he delivered one of the keynote addresses. He was elected to Congress in 1986. He risked his life repeatedly to achieve the dream of equality, yet despite the hatred and brutality he experienced, never wavered in his commitment to the philosophy of non-violence. Rep. John Lewis will join us to accept the Kay Family Award.
Jose Antonio Vargas. Jose Antonio Vargas was part of the team of Washington Post reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He had come to the United States from the Philippines when he was 12 years old. In 2011, in an essay that appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Jose revealed for the first time publically that he was an “undocumented immigrant.” Jose works to promote dialogue about immigration, and is the founder of Define American, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding of what it means to be American. Jose Antonio Vargas will join us to accept the Kay Family Award.
Daniel Pearl. Daniel Pearl, a gifted reporter and the South Asia Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, was covering the “war on terror” when he was kidnapped and murdered by a Pakistani terror group working with Al Qaeda, just four months after the September 11 terror attacks. Three months after the murder, Danny’s widow, Mariane, gave birth to a baby boy, which she named Adam, the name Danny had chosen. Tamara Pearl, Danny’s sister, will accept the Kay Family Award on behalf of the Pearl family.
Judy and Dennis Shepard. On October 6, 1998, Judy and Dennis’ son, Matthew, a 21 year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming by two men because he was gay. Matthew Shepard’s murder became a catalyst for a national effort to pass federal hate crime legislation and led Judy and Dennis to dedicate their lives to preventing another parent from experiencing what they had. In 2009, after a decade of work, Judy and Dennis watched as President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Judy and Dennis Shepard will join us to accept the Kay Family Award.
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