Human Rights Day Celebration 2010

The 2010 United Nations theme for Human Rights Day is “Human Rights Defenders who Act to End Discrimination.”  Speaking to that will be the keynote speaker, the Reverend Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., son of the late Rev. Kelly Miller Smith, Sr., noted for his prominent role as an activist and leader during Nashville’s civil rights movement.

An awards ceremony will honor three lifelong human rights workers for their dedication to and courage in making human rights a reality for us all. Receiving the awards will be:

Rev. Dr. Don Beisswenger, retired Vanderbilt Divinity School professor, who was imprisoned in 2004 for his act of civil disobedience against the School of the Americas.

Dr. Tommie Morton-Young, author, scholar and activist advocating for women, minorities, and the disadvantaged, who initiated hearings by the US Commission on Civil Rights on pay equity for women and minorities and school placement of students.

Ms. Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg, J.D., attorney and activist for civil rights, who authored Tennessee’s first law on antidiscrimination in employment and public accommodations, founded the Memphis Chapter of the Panel of American Women to help heal the breach following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and won the Women of Achievement Award for courage,

Members of a panel will discuss the path that they took to become human rights defenders and the challenges that they face in Tennessee.  Panelists include:

Ms. Kasar Abdulla, Director of Advocacy and Education, Tennessee Immigrants and Refugees Rights Coalition
Father Joseph Breen, Pastor, St. Edward’s Catholic Church

Mr. José González, Co-founder Conexión Américas and Instructor, Belmont University

Dr. Oscar Miller (TSU) Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology, Tennessee State University

Ms. Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director, Tennessee ACLU

Moderator:  Ms. Mary Pat Williams Silveira, President, Nashville Cordell Hull Chapter, United Nations Association-USA

Ms. Beverly Watts, Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, will be Master of Ceremonies for the event.

Click here to view our Flickr event photos.