New York, NY, November 21, 2013 … On November 18th, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored four heroes in the fight against hate and intolerance during the 19th annual ADL in Concert Against Hate at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The concert was the culminating event in the year-long commemoration of ADL’s centennial. Over 2,400 Washingtonians attended the program, which featured celebrity appearances and narration by stage and screen actors Harvey Keitel, Omar Epps, Charles S. Dutton and Gabrielle Union, and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra with conductor Emil de Cou.
The inspiring musical selections were interspersed with uplifting stories of personal heroism and courage in the fight against hatred, prejudice, and extremism. Each of the four heroes was asked to stand and be recognized by the audience after their story was vividly recounted. The 2013 Concert Patron Chairs are Joy and Ron Paul (Chairman, Eaglebank).The honorees who received the ADL Kay Family Award include:
•U.S. Rep John Lewis, D-GA, who 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. Congressman Lewis risked his life repeatedly and bravely and with a philosophy of nonviolence, to achieve the dream of equality.
•Jose Antonio Vargas, the founder of Define American and an outspoken advocate for immigration reform. Vargas, who came to the U.S. from the Phillipines when he was 12 years old, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter who, in 2011, wrote a personal essay in The New York Times in which he revealed for the first time publicly that he too was an “undocumented immigrant.”
•Daniel Pearl (posthumous), the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded by a Pakistani terrorist group working with Al Qaeda just four months after the 9/11 terror attacks. A gifted reporter and journalist, Pearl, was covering the U.S. “war on terror” as the Journal’s South Asia Bureau Chief when he was abducted in Pakistan and slain by anti-American Muslim extremists. The award was accepted by his sister, Tamara Pearl.
•Judy and Dennis Shepard. For a more than a decade after their 21-year-old son Matthew’s death in a tragic hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming, Judy and Dennis Shepard dedicated their lives to advocating for meaningful hate crimes legislation at the federal level. Matthew, a student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten and murdered by two men because he was gay. In 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act named in memory of their son and another victim of hate.
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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.