The event marked the 3rd Annual Human Rights Awards Celebration of Lift Every Voice Inc., (LEV-I), a California-based group dedicated to human rights education and enforcement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was held at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood. Actress Anne Archer served as master of ceremonies.
California State Senator Diane E. Watson and Compton Councilwoman Marcine Shaw joined Hayes as American awardees for their work on behalf of human rights.
egendary entertainer Isaac Hayes and leaders of diverse groups representing ethnic minorities from the United States and throughout the world were honored on June 15 for outstanding achievements in the fight against suppression and the securing of human rights for all.
Recipients recognized for their efforts in battling severe human rights violationslargely ignored in the international mediaincluded the following:
Posthumous awards were presented to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion; and Ken Saro-wiwa, renowned Nigerian writer and activist for the Ogoni people, who was abruptly sentenced to death in December 1995.
Earlier in the day, Isaac Hayes spoke at a press conference and pointed to the burning of black churches in the South as an example of escalating problems facing the African-American community and explained that they are no different from those facing ethnic minorities the world over.
This is not just a racial issue, Hayes said. This is also religious persecution. It is time every ethnic group and religion in America, black, white or otherwise stands together to combat this oppression.
LEV-I helps to assemble seemingly disparate peoples worldwide who are experiencing similar difficulties in the area of human rights and creates effective coalitions to improve conditions. LEV-I brings these abuses of human rights to the attention of the public and to those in a position to change situations for the better.
Proceeds from the awards event will fund scholarships for college and high school students specializing in the field of human rights, enabling them to participate in the United Nations Summer Human Rights Internship Program in Geneva, Switzerland.
LEV-I can be contacted on the Internet or by mail at:
2814 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
- Professor Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and author of the African Charter on Human Rights;
- Frieda Tomasoa, a member of the Republic Cabinet of South Molucca (occupied by Indonesia), presently in exile in Holland, who has brought to the attention of the United Nations and the world human rights abuses in her native land;
- Barika Idamkue, representing the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, an indigenous Nigerian people;
- Shaykh AbdAllah Latif Ali, co-founder and family elder of the American Muslims Admiral Family Circle, which focuses public attention on human rights issues;
- Yogesh Varharde, founder of the Amdebkar Centre for Peace and Justice, based in Toronto, which is the voice of 250 million Dalits or Untouchables in India; and
- Ben Matthews and Wayne Sanders, Music and Artistic Directors of the Opera Ebony Company, New York, long a platform for minority performers.