Wisconsin Progressive Movement and Bethlehem, The Migrant’s Shelter, win prestigious human rights award

When: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 5:30 PM Light Fare, 7:00 PM Ceremony

Where: NATIONAL PRESS CLUB Ballroom, 13th floor, 529 14th St NW, Washington DC 

Who: Institute for Policy Studies; Wisconsin Progressive Movement; Bethlehem, the Migrant’s Shelter
** Press Passes Available **

Washington DC – The Institute for Policy Studies hosts its 35th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, October 12, to honor unsung heroes of the progressive movement, both at home and abroad. This year the awards go to the Wisconsin Progressive Movement and Bethlehem, the Migrant’s Shelter (Mexico). The awards ceremony comes as IPS approaches its 50th year of speaking truth to power. Past awardess include: Seymour Hersh (2004), Pulitzer Prize winning journalist; The Association of Relatives of Disappeared People (1979), Chile; Senator Gustavo Petro of Colombia (2007); The Union of Indigenous Nations of Brazil (1989); and Pete Seeger (1986), folk music legend.

“This is a very humbling experience,” said John Matthews, head of the Wisconsin teachers union Madison Teachers Inc.., who will be receiving the award on behalf of the Wisconsin Progressive Movement. “To receive the award that is named after these people who worked so hard for social justice, for workplace justice, for freedom of people, and now to be representing the Wisconsin Progressive Movement in this awards ceremony is one of the most humbling experiences of my life.”

On September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet detonated a car bomb that killed IPS colleagues Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean diplomat and director of the Institute’s Transnational Institute, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, an IPS development associate, in Washington DC. Each year in October, the Institute for Policy Studies hosts the annual human rights award in the names of Letelier and Moffitt to honor these fallen colleagues while celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement from the United States and the Americas.

“To us the award is a manifestation of immense solidarity and justice for the repressive moment we are living right now for our work with migrants,” said Fr. Pedro Pantoja Arreola, who is traveling from Mexico to receive the award for Bethlehem, The Migrant’s Shelter. “We are tied to the risks faced by the migrant victims as human rights defenders. For that reason this recognition means a lot.”

The winners of the 2011 Letelier-Moffit Human Rights Award are:
The Wisconsin Progressive Movement is standing up for working families and for a strong public sector. The protests of Wisconsin workers continue to challenge an unjust status quo and breathe new life into the progressive movement.
Bethlehem, The Migrant’s Shelter (Mexico) works to protect migrants in Mexico from kidnapping, extortion, sexual abuse, and murder. As a voice for the human rights of migrants in transit, it has courageously challenged both organized crime and complicit public officials.

The awards ceremony will be held the evening of Wednesday, October 12, starting 5:30 PM at the National Press Club. Speeches and presentations will be offered by the awardees. The ceremony is IPS’s largest annual event and often draws long-time activists and leaders of the progressive movement. Food, drink, and entertainment will be provided.

Press Passes Available. For your press pass, please contact Lacy MacAuley, Institute for Policy Studies, (202) 445-4692, [email protected].

Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the United States and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.