ADL Heroes Against Hate Honored At Kennedy Center
Washington, DC, November 14, 2006 … Four heroes in the fight against hate and intolerance were honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) during the 12th annual ADL Concert Against Hate at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Honored with the ADL Ina Kay Award, in recognition of their courage and heroism in overcoming prejudice and hate, were:
• Hero Against Racism: Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges
In 1960 at the age of six, Ruby Bridges became the first Black child to integrate the all-white public school system in New Orleans. Her walk to the front door of William Frantz Elementary School, immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting, The Problem We All Live With, forced her to cross through a mob of screaming racists. All of the white teachers refused to work with her, except for one: Mrs. Barbara Henry, who will be on hand as Ms. Bridges is honored for dedicating her life to the fight against racism and hate.
• Hero Against Anti-Semitism: Ruth Halimi
A heretofore little-known Parisian, Ruth Halimi has become a daring and courageous voice against anti-Semitism and extremism in Europe in the wake of the brutal kidnapping and murder of her son, Ilan, by a group of thugs called "The Barbarians" in February 2006. Ilan Halimi, 23, was found naked, tortured and burned south of Paris after being held for three weeks by a gang demanding a large ransom, assuming his family was wealthy because they were Jewish. While still mourning the loss of her son, Ruth Halimi has spoken out forcefully against the anti-Semitism that led to her son's murder and shocked a nation.
• Hero Against Genocide: Simon Deng
Kidnapped and forced into slavery at the age of nine from his village in southern Sudan, Simon Deng endured three years of brutality and terror, refusing to convert from Christianity as a slave to an Arab family in the north. Today a U.S. citizen, Deng has dedicated his life to fighting slavery and genocide in Sudan.
• In Memoriam: Vincent Chin, Lynching Victim and Hero Against Hate
A Chinese-American, Vincent Chin, 27, was brutally murdered in Detroit by two autoworkers who were enraged by the Japanese automobile industry's competition with American car manufacturers. For the Asian Pacific American community, Chin's murder and the failure of the courts to bring his murderers to justice was a watershed event in the Asian immigrant community's history – much as the lynching of Leo Frank was a seminal event for American Jews. The award will be accepted by Stephanie Chang, an attorney and board member for American Citizens for Justice, on behalf of Vincent Chin's family.
The awards were presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. during a concert narrated and hosted by Josh Malina, star of the television series The West Wing. The concert featured performances by the National Symphony Orchestra led by Emil De Cou, with special guests Harolyn Blackwell, soprano and David Toney, the Broadway actor and writer.
The ADL Ina Kay Award is bestowed annually upon heroes honored at the ADL Concert Against Hate, an event sponsored by the League's Washington, D.C. Regional Office. It recognizes individuals for extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance and injustice, extremism and terrorism.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.