2015 ALBA/Puffin Prize: Bryan Stevenson
April 27, 2014
The Lincoln Brigade Continues Bending the Arc Towards Justice
New York — On Sunday, April 27, 2014, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) will present the fourth ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to Bryan Stevenson, the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. ALBA and the Puffin Foundation, which provides an endowed fund exclusively for this annual honor, present the $100,000 ALBA/Puffin Award annually to honor the International Brigades and connect their legacy of progressive activism with contemporary causes.
“I can’t think of anyone more worthy of this honor, not only because the volunteers of the Lincoln Brigade fought on the front lines in the struggle against racism and for social justice and civil rights, but also because the Equal Justice Initiative, like ALBA, believes that injustice is rooted in a lack of education and that teaching the United States about the dark chapters in its own history is an absolute necessity as we work toward a better Union.” – Sebastiaan Faber, chair of ALBA.
Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Mr. Stevenson has dedicated his adult life to addressing poverty and challenging racial discrimination, particularly in the U.S. criminal justice system. A determined and dedicated advocate for restorative justice, Mr. Stevenson is a compassionate humanist fully committed to addressing the greatest civil rights challenges of our times.
The ALBA/Puffin Award is part of a program connecting the inspiring legacy of the International Brigades—the 40,000 volunteers from all over the world who helped fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War—to international activist causes of today. Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón received the first ALBA/Puffin Award in May 2011. Other recipients include Kate Doyle and Fredy Peccerelli, who work to expose human rights violations in Guatemala, and United We Dream, a national network of youth-led immigrant activist organizations that fight for the rights of millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Award Ceremony with a musical tribute to Pete Seeger
Sunday, April 27th, 2:30pm–4:30pm, reception to follow.
The New School
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
Keynote Speaker: Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
Honorary Committee: Julian Bond, Peter Coyote, Lila Downs, Gael García Bernal, and Oliver Stone.
Sunday, April 27th, 12:00pm–2:00pm
Orozco Room, The New School
A public conversation on history, race, and justice between Bryan Stevenson and activist actor Mike Farrell.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives: www.alba-valb.org
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights. ALBA’s work is inspired by the brave American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought and died fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). ALBA’s programs include teacher institutes, exhibitions, publications, cultural programs and an annual award for human rights activism, given in partnership with the Puffin Foundation. Drawing on the ALBA collections in New York University’s Tamiment Library, ALBA works to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations.
The Puffin Foundation: www.puffinfoundation.org
Since it was founded in 1983, the Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations that are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. The Puffin, a species whose nesting sites were endangered by encroaching civilization, was encouraged to return to its native habitats through the constructive efforts of a concerned citizenry. The Foundation has adopted the name Puffin as a metaphor for how it perceives its mission, which is to ensure that the arts continue to grow and enrich our lives. In so doing it has joined with other concerned groups and individuals toward achieving that goal. The Puffin Foundation is also a long-standing supporter of ALBA’s educational mission.
Bryan Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He’s the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative an Alabama-based group that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. EJI litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. EJI also prepares reports, newsletters, and manuals to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of criminal justice.
The Orozco Room is a hidden gem in the long list of New York’s artistic treasures. Rarely open to the public, the room houses a cycle of five socially-themed frescoes that the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco (1833-1949) painted at The New School in 1930. These are the only murals by Orozco in NYC and they also rank as the city’s most outstanding examples of mural art.