Past ADL In Concert Against Hate Honorees

2018 Honorees

Derek Black and Matthew Stevenson. Derek Black was raised in one of the most prominent families leading the white nationalist movement. His father founded the first white nationalist website and largest online community, Stormfront, and Derek spent the first two decades of his life as an enthusiastic activist in his family’s movement. Matthew Stevenson was born and raised in South Florida. Shortly after enrolling in New College of Florida, Matthew began organizing a weekly Shabbat dinner in his dormitory that included people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. A lifelong student in the Kabbalah Centre, he had long believed in the importance of treating other people with dignity, even when doing so might be unpopular.

Derek also attended New College and was outed as the son of prominent white nationalists and a rising leader within the movement. Amidst an enormous student uproar over his presence on campus, Matthew invited him to join one of his Shabbat gatherings so that he could see firsthand the people that the white nationalist ideology despised. Derek soon became a regular attendee, and as the connections made at those Shabbats became deeper, his views began to change. Through long and sometimes painful conversations with friends Derek made at those dinners, he conceded that the evidence for the ideology he had fought so hard to promote did not hold up, and that he had caused harm by promoting it.

Eva Moses Kor and Father Patrick Desbois. Eva Moses Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust, a forgiveness advocate, and a revered public speaker. One of the few surviving twins of the medical experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, Eva’s driving message is "never give up.” A community leader, a champion of human rights, and a tireless educator, Eva is a brilliant example of the power of the human spirit. In 1995, Eva opened CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, IN, the only Holocaust museum in the state, to promote hope, healing, respect and responsibility. CANDLES is the only organization in the world dedicated to the memory of the twin victims and survivors of medical experimentation at Auschwitz.

Father Patrick Desbois is the Founder and President of the international organization Yahad-In Unum, which is dedicated to bringing evidence of genocides to light. Over the course of more than 14 years, Yahad-In Unum has interviewed 6,171 eyewitnesses of Nazi executions of Jews and Roma, and identified 2,546 execution sites across Eastern Europe. Father Desbois has served as the Director of the National Service for relations with Judaism under the auspices of the French Conference of Bishops and is currently a consultant to the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism.

Maria Gabriela Pacheco. Maria Gabriela (“Gaby”) Pacheco is a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader. In 2005, she and other Miami Dade College students founded a Florida-based immigrant youth group advocating for tuition equity and immigrant rights. In 2010, alongside three other undocumented students, Gaby led the Trail of Dreams, a four-month walk from Miami to Washington, DC to call attention to the plight of immigrant families under the threat of deportation. In 2012, as political director for United We Dream, she spearheaded the efforts that led to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On April 22, 2013, Pacheco became the first undocumented Latina to testify in front of Congress, speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the urgent need for immigration reform. Gaby is known for her compassionate activism and work to dismantle anti-immigrant sentiments. She is currently the Director of Advocacy, Communications, and Development at TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMers, and also serves on several non-profit boards.

Susan BroSusan Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer and co-Founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation (HHF). The foundation was launched to carry on Heather’s legacy after she tragically lost her life while standing up for social justice on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Susan now works as the President of the Foundation and Board Chair. She often travels around the country, speaking on behalf of HHF, sharing Heather’s legacy of non-violent activism and social justice. Susan believes she can continue to bring about positive social change through the education and training of the next generation of activists, advocates and allies. 

Rais Bhuiyan. Rais Bhuiyan is an American Muslim who ten days after 9/11 was shot from point blank range by a white supremacist in Dallas, TX. His near-death experience and subsequent religious pilgrimage sparked a profound journey, including an international campaign advocating to save his attacker from death row. Ever since, Rais has kept his death bed promise to do more for others, dedicating his life to transforming hearts and opening minds through restorative justice, building bridges, storytelling and public speaking.

2017 Honorees

Chief Louis M. Dekmar. Louis M. Dekmar has 40 years of civilian police experience, with 27 years as police chief or chief of public safety.  Presently, he serves as Chief of Police and Chief of Public Safety for the City of LaGrange, Georgia.  He is responsible for supervision, personnel and management of the LaGrange Police and Fire Departments. Chief Dekmar is Vice-President for the International Association for Chiefs of Police (IACP), which is the largest police executive association in the world, representing almost 30,000 members in over 130 countries. A graduate of the FBI National Academy (142nd) and a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, he is a national presenter for police leaders and elected officials on a range of topics involving leadership, ethics, law enforcement management and liability issues and has provided over 300 training programs to police chiefs, elected officials, and other law enforcement personnel throughout the world. He served as a Civil Rights Monitor for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ); assisting the agency in developing policies, protocols, and procedures addressing officer misconduct issues, particularly those involving bias-based profiling. In 2017, Chief Dekmar received the Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney’s “Headlight Award” for an acknowledgment and public apology for the lynching of a young black man involving the LaGrange Police Department in 1940.

Gavin Grimm. Gavin Grimm is an 18-year-old high school graduate in Gloucester, Virginia. He is transgender.  Gavin and his mother notified administrators of his male gender identity at the beginning of his sophomore year.  On December 9, 2014, by a vote of 6-1, despite complaints from some parents and residents of Gloucester County, the school board adopted a new policy banning Gavin from using the boys’ restrooms. The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on Gavin’s behalf asking the court to rule for Gavin to be able to use the same restroom as other boys at Gloucester High School. The district court denied the injunction and dismissed Gavin’s claim under Title IX.  Gavin’s case was set to be heard by the Supreme Court on March 28, 2017, but on March 5, the Supreme Court announced that it was sending Gavin's case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Department of Justice and Education’s rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students. Gavin continues the work to secure LGBT rights for all transgender persons.  DOJ Pride, an organization of LGBT Justice Department employees recognized Gavin’s outstanding contributions to the LGBT community during a ceremony in the building’s Great Hall, where attorneys and employees lined up to honor him and offer thanks.

Ann Jaffe. A retired educator of Jewish studies, Jaffe chairs the Speaker’s Bureau of the Helena Wind-Preston Holocaust Education Committee in Wilmington and has impacted countless communities by sharing her story of survival in schools, churches and universities.  Anne was born in a small village in eastern Poland.  She was only 10 when the Nazi’s first invaded her village.  Her family was spared from the daily executions because her mother was a “useful” Jew, a seamstresses who could make dresses for the Officer’s wife.  Every day, she wondered if she would live to see the next, but then, one day, a guerrilla force of freedom fighters came from the forest to set them free. After almost two years in the forest surviving cold and starvation, they learned that the Soviet army had liberated eastern Poland on July 4, 1944. Anne says," "My father said to me, ‘I don't ever want to hear the word hate come out of your mouth.' He told me to find kindness in my heart instead, because that was what made us different from those who did this to us." Today she tells her story as a way of fighting against the hatred in the world.

Tolu Olubunmi. Tolu Olubunmi is a social entrepreneur working at the intersection of public policy and social innovation. She was named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as one of 15 Women Changing the World in 2015. She began her career in public policy as a fellow with the National Immigration Law Center, advocating for passage of the DREAM Act. In 2010, she founded Ada Consulting - specializing in communications, federal legislative and administrative policy analysis, and advocacy to defend and advance human and civil rights. Tolu co-founded Welcome.us - a nonprofit promoting the history, importance, and contributions of immigrants and immigration through collaborations with business, government, nonprofits, and the entertainment industry. As Welcome’s founding executive director, she helped established June as Immigrant Heritage Month. She has been a featured speaker at the White House, the World Bank, and the US Congress. She currently serves on WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Migration and is co-chairing the Mobile Minds Project - an innovative initiative advancing cross-border remote working as a 21st century alternative to physical migration. Tolu’s unlikely journey from an unemployed, undocumented chemical engineer to a respected immigrants’ rights activist and an internationally recognized social entrepreneur began because she believed the U.S. could and should do better by all people that call this great nation home. 

2016 Honorees

Adrianne Haslet. Adrianne Haslet was severely injured by the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. A 32-year-old professional ballroom dance, Adrienne’s left leg was amputated below the knee because of her devastating injuries. Her three-year recovery was painful and difficult but her resilience and determination had her walking and even dancing again. In April 2016 she accomplished an even greater challenge by completing the 26-mile Boston Marathon, a race she’d never dreamed of running. Today, besides volunteering with a number of organizations including Limbs for Life, dedicated to providing prosthetics for people who cannot afford them, Adrienne speaks around the world about her road to recovery and the life lessons she has learned. “I refuse to be called a victim. I am not defined by what happened in my life. I am a survivor, defined by how I live my life.”

 

Christine Leinonen. Christine Leinonen is the mother of Christopher Andrew “Dru” Leinonen, an LGBT activist and professional counselor, who was among the 49 killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. The attack was the biggest mass shooting in the history of the United States to date, as well as the biggest attack on the LGBT community in history. To honor the memory of her only child, Christine has stood up as an advocate for common sense gun reforms and supported “The Dru Project” an LGBTQIA organization founded by Dru and his friends- a mission to spread love across the nation and promote gay straight alliances. “He can’t do that on his own now, but I can do it for him. I can speak for him.”

 

Lieutenant Mike Madden. On December 2, 2015 Lieutenant Mike Madden, a 24-year veteran of the San Bernardino Police Force, was first on the scene when the Inland Regional Center came under attack by terrorists. Trained for active shooter situations, he waited two minutes for backup. When three other officers arrived, he led the team, guns drawn, into the building where the assailants could still be at large. Into the chaos of screams and fire alarms and through the fog of gun power and torrents of water from broken sprinklers Madden made his way from room to room clearing the building of panic stricken people. As waves of emergency service officers rushed to the scene Madden helped extract frightened survivors from their cars and then supervised the evacuation of an adult day care center. The next day Madden reported to work as usual as head of Dispatchers. “I am not a hero,” he said, “I was just doing my job.”

Alana Simmons. Alana Simmons is the granddaughter of the Reverend Daniel L. Simmons Sr., one of the parishioners who gathered for Bible study at “Mother” Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC when a white Columbia area man opened fire. Rev. Simmons was one of nine murdered in cold blood on June 17, 2015, a senseless victim of the murderer’s attempt to ignite a “race war.” Just days after her grandfather was slain, Alana along with family members of other Charleston victims, publicly forgave her grandfather’s killer in a South Carolina courtroom. Shortly after, Alana created the social media hash tag #HateWontWin to encourage people to post a picture showing love to someone “different from them.” Instantly, the hashtag went viral and her website “Hate Won’t Win” was born. Its mission is to create a more culturally cohesive society that appreciates and celebrates differences instead of allowing them to divide us. Alana says, “Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, they lived in love and they preached love, and their legacies will be love.”

2015 Honorees

Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper. In 2012, Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper chose to leave the Westboro Baptist Church, the fundamentalist church led by their grandfather and composed primarily of family members, in which the two sisters had spent their entire lives. Westboro is notorious for staging thousands of protests condemning gays and Jews, with signs such as “God Hates Fags” and “Jews Killed Jesus,” and for picketing the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unable to continue to follow the doctrines of their church, Megan and Grace left Westboro, knowing that their family would never see or speak to them again. For the past three years, Megan and Grace have dedicated themselves to forging relationships with the communities they once condemned.

General (Ret.) Mansour Abu Rashid. At least twice a year for 15 years, a group of retired Jordanian and Israeli generals meets to discuss how to bring the peoples of their two countries closer together. During the Six-Day War, Mansour Abu Rashid, the founder of the Generals Forum, was an infantry platoon leader who fought Israel in the streets of Jerusalem, where many on both sides fell and Mansour was captured and held until he managed to escape. In the years that followed, he rose through the ranks to become General Director of the Intelligence Department for the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces. But when he retired in 1999, he did something unexpected. He founded the Amman Center for Peace and Development, whose goal is to bring together the people of the Middle East and, above all, Jordanians and Israelis. As a result of his efforts to build relations between Israel and Jordan, General Mansour became a target of extremists, who stormed the Amman Center hoping to intimidate and silence the voice of co-existence.

Ambassador Jakob Finci. Jakob Finci’s family came to Sarajevo in the 16th century, after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. He was born in 1943, shortly after his parents were liberated from an Italian detention camp. During the Bosnian War (1992-95), he headed La Benevolencija, a Jewish communal organization that gave humanitarian aid to Muslims, Croats, and Serbs during the siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces. His efforts helped to save more than a thousand Muslims by providing documents which enabled them to pass as Jews. He was elected to serve as the first President of the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina and chaired the effort to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in that country following the Bosnian War.

2014 Honorees

Reat Griffin Underwood, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, Teresa Lamanno. On April 13, 2014, a white supremacist killed 14 year-old Reat Griffin Underwood and his grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, a family practice and emergency room doctor, as they arrived at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, for Reat’s audition for Kansas City Superstar. Minutes later, the gunman murdered Teresa Lamanno, an occupational therapist working with visually impaired children, as she was walking to visit her mother at Shalom Village, a Jewish retirement community. 

Billy Mills. William Mervin (“Billy”) Mills is an Olympic gold medal winner, former officer in the United States Marine Corps, and has devoted his life to giving back to Native American people. An Oglala Lakota (Sioux), Billy was raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Orphaned at age 12, he began running and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he was an All-American in cross-country and led the university to two consecutive national outdoor championships. In 1964, while serving as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, he competed in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters. Having grown up in poverty, and experienced racism throughout his athletic career, Billy has dedicated his life to improving the lives of American Indian children. 

Jacqueline Murekatete. Jacqueline Murekatete is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and a human rights activist. In 1994, at the age of nine, Jacqueline’s parents and siblings were murdered, along with hundreds of thousands of other Tutsis, by members of the Hutu majority. Adopted by an uncle in the United States, Jacqueline first told her story after hearing a Holocaust survivor, David Gewitzman, speak at her school. Jacqueline was honored at the 2004 ADL Concert on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary ADL Concert, Jacqueline will be honored again, and the next chapter in her story will be told.

2013 Honorees

Representative John Lewis. Rep. John Lewis is recognized as one of the most important, courageous and inspiring leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with his emergence as a leader of the Nashville Sit-Ins in 1960, John Lewis 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. He was elected to Congress in 1986. He risked his life repeatedly to achieve the dream of equality, yet despite the hatred and brutality he experienced, never wavered in his commitment to the philosophy of non-violence. 

Jose Antonio Vargas. Jose Antonio Vargas was part of the team of Washington Post reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He had come to the United States from the Philippines when he was 12 years old. In 2011, in an essay that appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Jose revealed for the first time publicly that he was an “undocumented immigrant.” Jose works to promote dialogue about immigration, and is the founder of Define American, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding of what it means to be American. 

Daniel Pearl, a gifted reporter and the South Asia Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, was covering the “war on terror” when he was kidnapped and murdered by a Pakistani terror group working with Al Qaeda, just four months after the September 11 terror attacks. Three months after the murder, Danny’s widow, Mariane, gave birth to a baby boy, which she named Adam, the name Danny had chosen. 

Judy and Dennis Shepard. On October 6, 1998, Judy and Dennis’ son, Matthew, a 21 year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming by two men because he was gay. Matthew Shepard’s murder became a catalyst for a national effort to pass federal hate crime legislation and led Judy and Dennis to dedicate their lives to preventing another parent from experiencing what they had. In 2009, after a decade of work, Judy and Dennis watched as President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act. 

2012 Honorees

Irene Fogel Weiss.  Irene Fogel Weiss was thirteen years-old when she and her family were deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Over a three-month period, nearly 400,000 Hungarian Jews would be murdered at Auschwitz. Irene survived both the extermination camp and winter death march across Poland and into Germany.  After liberation, she began to piece together what happened to her family, but it was not for almost four decades that she would discover the photographs taken by the Nazis at Auschwitz, which documented the destruction of the Jews of Hungary and the fate of her family.  I

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.  The sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi in May, 1963, has been called one of the most violent in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.  The photograph of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her fellow demonstrators being attacked by a mob as they sat peacefully at the lunch counter has become one of the defining images of the struggle to achieve racial equality.  For Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, that photograph was the most visible example of the courage she displayed and the dangers she faced in the struggle to end segregation.  

Police Officer Moira Ann Smith.  On September 11, 2001, Police Officer Moira Ann Smith saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center and immediately rushed downtown.  Shortly afterwards, Officer Smith was photographed rescuing a badly-injured man from the burning South Tower—one of several hundred people she is credited with saving—and then she disappeared.  Six months later, her badge was found in the wreckage of the collapsed tower.  Her damaged badge and the photographs of her daughter, Patricia, holding the hand of her father, Officer James Smith, at her mother’s memorial services are among the most poignant reminders of the sacrifices made on September 11 by first responders.  

Amardeep Singh Kaleka.  On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist attacked the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people, including the temple’s founder, Satwant Singh Kaleka.  As the tragedy unfolded, and in the days and weeks that followed, Satwant Singh Kaleka’s son, Amardeep, emerged as the voice of the Sikh community of Oak Creek.  His courage and eloquence in the wake of the shooting and his powerful call for understanding and respect resonated throughout the nation.  

2011 Honorees

Paola Czyzewski. On July 18, 1994, Paola Czyzewski came to work with her mother at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  She was going downstairs to get coffee when a suicide bomber drove a car bomb into the front of the building, killing Paola and 84 others.  It was the most lethal attack on Jews outside of Israel since the Holocaust.  The perpetrators of the terror attack, which was a joint operation of Iran and Hezbollah, have never been prosecuted.  Seventeen years after the AMIA/DAIA bombing, the families of the victims are still hoping for justice.  

SGT Kimberly D. Munley. On November 5, 2009, SGT Kim Munley, an Army civilian police officer, confronted a gunman outside the Soldiers’ Readiness Center.  Inside, forty-two people had been shot, and thirteen lay dead or dying.  SGT Munley’s heroism helped end the Fort Hood Shooting.  

Mike Shillingburg and David Brown. In 1973, David Brown was one of a handful of black students bused across Dallas to integrate the previously all white Mark Twain Elementary School.  He was taunted by parents and protesters as he entered the school.  Inside, his white classmates refused to talk to him, everyone except Mike Shillingburg.  The friendship between these two twelve year old boys—one black and one white— would change race relations at Mark Twain and their lives.  But after the school year ended, they would not see each other until chance reunited them 38 years later.  

Pat Kutteles. In July, 1999, Pat Kutteles’ son, Private First Class Barry Winchell, was beaten to death by another soldier because he was thought to be gay.  Since Barry’s murder, Pat Kutteles has dedicated her life to securing justice for her son, and has emerged as one of the most powerful voices in the movement to repeal the U.S. military’s policy on sexual orientation, which is known simply as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  

2010 Honorees

Violet Sutton-Lawson.  On December 3, 2009, South Philadelphia High School exploded in racial violence. Violet Sutton-Lawson, an African-American community liaison officer, repeatedly risked her life to protect the Asian students. She was the only staff member to do so. 

Wei Chen.  Wei was one of dozens of Asian students who were attacked during a day-long series of assaults by fellow students at South Philadelphia High School. Using civil disobedience and coalition building, Wei changed the climate of fear and violence at South Philly and forced the school system and the city to examine the way it looked at Asian immigrants.

Balbir Singh Sodhi. On September 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered outside of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who wanted to kill a Muslim in retaliation for September 11. He selected Balbir because he had a beard and wore a turban. However Balbir was not a Muslim, but a Sikh.

Tammy Aaberg. In July 2010, Tammy Aaberg’s fifteen year-old son, Justin, committed suicide. Only after his death did Tammy learn that Justin had been the target of bullying because he was Gay. Determined to prevent this from happening to another child, Tammy has become an advocate against bullying and school policies which fail to protect LGBT students.  

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, a Muslim-American who had wanted to be a soldier since he was ten, was killed in Iraq in 2007 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Kareem Khan, recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart wanted nothing more than to show America that a Muslim would fight to protect our nation.

2009 Honorees

Tom Self. Tom Self was one of eleven photographers working for the Birmingham News who documented the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama. He took the first photographs of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church after the bombing that killed four African-American girls.  

Mindy Finkelstein. Mindy Finkelstein was a 16 year-old camp counselor at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, when a neo-Nazi entered the Center and opened fire, shooting her and four others including three children.

Joseph Ileto. A Filipino-American letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, Joseph Ileto was murdered by a neo-Nazi, because in the shooter’s words, he looked to be either Latino or Asian and worked for the federal government. 

Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer. In 1985, four terrorists seized the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered Leon Klinghoffer because he was a Jew.  For 24 years, Ilsa and Lisa have pursued their father’s murderers, dedicating themselves to educating the world about the deadly realities of terrorism, and serving as a source of strength and inspiration for others. 

2008 Honorees

Lillian Kimura. In April 1942, Lillian Kimura and her family were removed from their home and imprisoned, along with more than 100,000 others, simply because they were Japanese Americans or of Japanese descent.  Lillian was thirteen years old when she was incarcerated and spent the next three and a half years in Manzanar War Relocation Center in the barren, miserable desert west of “Death Valley”.  One of the last families to leave Manzanar, the Kimuras received $25 and one-way train tickets as compensation.  In the 1970’s, she emerged as one of the important voices in the Redress Movement – the effort to acknowledge and compensate the terrible injustice done to Japanese Americans, which culminated twenty years ago when President Reagan signed the Civil Rights Act of 1988. 

Judge Melissa Powers. In 1980, bullets from a high-powered rifle killed two Black children, 14-year-old Darrell Lane and 13-year-old Dante Evans Brown. For sixteen years, the families of Darrell and Dante were haunted by two questions—who killed their boys and why?  Melissa Powers was an assistant prosecutor in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1997 when her bossed asked her to help close the case.  To do so, Ms. Powers had to win the trust of one of the nation’s most prolific racist serial killers – Joseph Paul Franklin.  She began writing Franklin, and after winning his trust met with him face-to-face in prison. Ms. Powers was able to secure Franklin’s confession in Darrell and Dante’s murders, as well as a confession that led to the release of a man wrongly convicted of killing two female hitchhikers. 

Ronit Tubol. In 2002, Ronit boarded a bus for the trip downtown to police headquarters, where she worked in the intelligence unit. Jerusalem was on high alert following reports that a suicide bomber was on his way to the city. In fact, it was Ronit’s own unit that was trying to find the bomber. Based on the intelligence reports, they believed the bomber was coming from the north. But he entered Jerusalem from the south. There, he boarded the bus, and, standing directly behind Ronit, blew himself up, the force of the explosion propelling her out of the bus through a hole in the roof and onto the street.  Miraculously, she survived, but she suffered serious wounds and brain damage.  Ronit could not talk or use her arms and legs, and her next four months would be spent in the hospital undergoing intensive physical and speech therapy.  Six years after the attack Ronit speaks about her experiences to other terror attack survivors and law enforcement groups visiting Israel.  

2007 Honorees

Liviu Librescu. Liviu Librescu, a Romanian Jew, survived the Holocaust in a small town in Romania and then thirty-five years of communist rule before being allowed to emigrate to Israel. An internationally renowned mathematician and aeronautical engineer, Liviu Librescu became a professor at Tel Aviv University before accepting an appointment to teach at Virginia Tech.  On April 16, 2007, Prof. Librescu heard gun fire in the hallway outside his classroom. Ordering his students to escape by the windows, he held the door closed as the gunman fought to get in. Thirty two people, including Liviu Librescu, were killed in the shooting rampage. Because of Prof. Librescu’s actions, all of his students, except one, survived the massacre. 

Eugene Sayles. Eugene Sayles was a nineteen year-old Seaman First Class at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine, an enormous ammunition loading base near San Francisco. On the night of July 17, 1944, 5,000 tons of high explosives, bombs, and ammunition exploded destroying Port Chicago, killing 320 sailors and wounding close to 400 hundred. Seaman First Class Sayles survived the blast and worked through the night to save the lives of the wounded. Of the dead, 202 were African-Americans. At Port Chicago, every ammunition handler was black and every officer was white. And while their white officers lived in comfort and worked in safety, the black sailors, many just teenagers, toiled in brutal and dangerous conditions loading shells by hand into the hulls of ammunition ships. Ordered to resume work after the explosion, most of the sailors refused until working conditions were improved. In response, fifty men were charged with mutiny, convicted and sentenced to dishonorable discharges and up to fifteen years at hard labor. The Port Chicago disaster was a catalyst for President Truman’s decision to sign the order desegregating the military.  

Bujar Veselaj. Bujar Veselaj’s father, Refik, was an Albanian Muslim who has been recognized as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.”  In 2005, as part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the fall of the Nazis, Bujar was interviewed on television about his father’s efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust.  Within days, Islamic fundamentalists launched a campaign to terrorize Bujar and his family, warning him that “Muslim Albania did not have a place for the well wishers of Jews” and threatening to kill him, his family and anyone who helped them. After six months of terror, Bujar and his family flew to the United States, where they sought political asylum. Less than one month ago, Bujar and his family were granted asylum. Bujar Veselaj’s experiences at the hands of Muslim extremists have only intensified his veneration for his father’s memory and his appreciation of what he did to save Jews from the Nazis. 

David Ritcheson. In April 2006, David Ritcheson, a 17 year old Hispanic high school student from Harris County, Texas, was beaten, tortured and left to die by two white supremacists. David spent three months in the hospital, and underwent close to forty surgeries to repair extensive internal injuries. In December, the two men who attacked David were convicted of aggravated sexual assault—the prosecutor declined to charge them with hate crimes—and sentenced to life in prison. Almost exactly a year after the assault, David agreed to allow his name to be made public for the first time, as he testified before Congress on the need for comprehensive hate crime laws.  David became a tireless advocate on behalf of stronger hate crime laws, but the trauma of the attack never left him and in June 2007, David Ritcheson took his own life. 

2006 Honorees

Vincent Chin. In June 1982, Vincent Chin, a 27 year-old Chinese-American working at Chrysler, was celebrating his upcoming wedding at a bar in Detroit when two white unemployed autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz, started a fight with him. Ebens screamed, “it’s because of you little mother….s that we’re out of work.” Less than an hour later, Ebens would crush Vincent Chin’s skull with a baseball bat. For the Asian Pacific American community, the murder of Vincent Chin, and the failure of our court system to bring his murderers to justice, was a watershed event, and is seen today as a turning point in that community’s history, much as the murder of Leo Frank was for American Jews.

Simon Deng. Simon Deng was nine years old when he was kidnapped from his village in southern Sudan and given as a slave to an Arab family in the north. He endured three years of brutality and terror, refusing conversion from Christianity to Islam in order to save himself, before escaping. He learned to swim from a Muslim friend and became the national swimming champion of Sudan. When the Sudanese government launched a campaign to “cleanse” its cities of Christians, Simon used his position to free hundreds of people from prisons in the capital of Khartoum. Today, Simon Deng is an American citizen and dedicates his life to fighting slavery and genocide in the Sudan.    

Ruby Bridges. In 1960, Ruby Bridges was the first black child to integrate New Orleans’ all white public school system. She was six years old. Her walk to the front door of William Frantz Elementary School, which was immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting, The Problem We All Live With, forced her to cross through a mob of screaming racists. White parents took their children out of school. All of the white teachers – except Mrs. Barbara Henry – refused to work with her. For the next year, Ruby studied alone with her teacher. Mrs. Barbara Henry will be joining us as we honor her former student and close friend, Ruby Bridges, who has dedicated much of her adult life to fighting bigotry and intolerance.

2005 Honorees

Tibor ("Ted") Rubin. Ted Rubin survived two years in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen. He came to America and enlisted in the U.S. Army at the start of the Korean War. Captured, he survived more than two years in a Chinese prison camp and is credited with saving the lives of scores of American POWS by using the survival skills he learned in Mauthausen. Last month, half a century after his heroic actions in Korea, President Bush awarded Mr. Rubin America's highest military award for his actions in Korea.

Paul Dadge. One of the heroes of the London Underground terrorist attacks that killed fifty-two people, Paul, a former firefighter, played a critical role in helping those wounded in the suicide bombings. The photograph of Paul Dadge, with his arms around Davinia Turrell ("The Woman in the Mask"), became the iconic image of the July 7th attacks capturing the courage and compassion of the British people in the face of the suicide bombings.

Jim Hood. As Mississippi's Attorney General, Jim Hood reopened the case against Edgar Ray Killen, the Ku Klux Klan recruiter who organized the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Hood led the team that prosecuted Killen, and, forty years after the killings of the three civil rights workers, a jury convicted Killen for the 1964 murders.

Mohammed Odeh Al-Rehaief. An Iraqi attorney, Mohammed al-Rehaief risked his life to help the United States armed forces rescue prisoner of war Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriyah. 

2004 Honorees

David Gewirtzman and Jacqueline Murekatete. Murekatete, now 19, survived the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which the ruling Hutus murdered more than 500,000 ethnic Tutsis, including all of her immediate family.  Gewirtzman was 11 when the Nazis invaded Poland.  For two years, he and seven others hid in a muddy pit under a pigsty, surviving on bread and potatoes left by the farmer they paid to hid them.  Only 16 of his town’s 8,000 Jews survived the Holocaust.  Today, Jacqueline and David tell their stories to young people, to insure that future generations understand the enormous consequences of racial, religious and ethnic hate.

Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell. In 1996, the Mandells immigrated to Israel from Maryland.  Their oldest son, Koby, then 13 years old, and a friend skipped school to go hiking and subsequently went missing. Both of their bodies were found the next day, brutally stoned to death, in a cave in the Judean desert.  They were among the first victims of the second Palestinian “Intifada.” The Mandells coped with their son’s death by turning their grief into hope and healing. They first organized informal support groups for bereaved parents, which led to family retreats, and ultimately to Camp Koby, where young victims of terror, and siblings and children of terror victims find support and strength to heal.

Detective Doug Comfort and Sergeant Dean Lay. Comfort, a detective in the Fairfax County Police Department, has spent nearly 30 years investigating hate groups and violent gangs.  After September 11, he and his partner Sgt. Dean Lay were assigned to counterterrorism.  Comfort and Lay are now regarded by federal prosecutors as among the best and most successful teams in the country at cracking terrorist networks in the U.S., and bringing their members to justice. 

David Smith and Sandra Roberts. In 1998, Smith and Roberts, both educators at Whitwell Middle School in Whitwell, Tennessee, looked for a way to teach about diversity and the Holocaust at their school.  They wanted to find a way to make the number of people killed in the Holocaust concrete and personal.  This was achieved by having the students collect 11 million paperclips to represent each of the lives lost.  These were placed in a railway car which was dedicated as a memorial on November 9, 2001, the anniversary of Kristallnacht. 

2003 Honorees

Paul Wos, a member of the Polish Underground, rescued a dozen Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. For his courage and compassion, he has been recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, the official designation for Christian rescuers. A participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Wos was captured by the Nazis and sent to Flossenberg Concentration Camp.

Johnny Micheal Spann, a former Marine captain and part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division—the Agency’s equivalent of the Special Forces—he was one of the first to go in to Afghanistan after September 11th. Mike Spann was killed by Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners in the uprising at Mazar-i-Sharif on November 25, 2001. He was the first America to die in the war against terror. 

Dr. David Applebaum was one of Israel’s most revered medical experts in treating terror victims. He was a pioneer in trauma care and was invariably the first on the scene of terror attacks in Jerusalem. His daughter, Naava, has just completed her national service in Israel, working with cancer victims, and was planning to be a geneticist. She was to be married on September 11, 2003. On September 9, Dr. Applebaum and his daughter were killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem as they sat in a café discussing her wedding.  

Nicola Waddell, in the wake of the Crown Heights riots, a group of African-American and Jewish high school students came together with ADL to search for some answers. The result was ADL’s Peer Training program, which has trained thousands of teenagers to confront stereotypes and prejudices. Nicola Waddell was a member of that first team of Peer Trainers. The experience changed her life. 

2002 Honorees

Staff Sergeant Andrew Ropel, U.S. Army. Staff Sergeant Ropel of the 10th Mountain Division was among the first American soldiers to see combat in Afghanistan in the war against terrorism. SSG Ropel earned a Bronze Star Medal with valor device in the battle of Shahi Khot Valley, Afghanistan, fought on March 2, 2002. SSG Ropel was born in Poland and moved to the United States when he was twenty-three years old.

Marla Bennett. Marla Bennett was a 24 year-old student at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and was at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, when she was killed by terrorists who detonated a bomb in the school’s cafeteria on July 31, 2002. 

Chief Charles A. Moose. As Chief of Police of Montgomery County Department of Police, Chief Moose lead the Sniper Investigation Task Force which successfully ended the shooting rampage that terrorized Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia for three weeks.  In honoring Chief Moose, ADL will recognize the countless law enforcement professionals of the federal, state and local agencies who worked with such dedication to bring the perpetrators to justice and protect the citizens of our region. 

Lauren and Greg Manning. Lauren Manning, a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, was severely burned on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. In his inspiring bestseller, LOVE, GREG & LAUREN, her husband, Greg, chronicles Lauren’s struggle to survive and triumph over her devastating injuries. 

2001 Honorees

Officer George Howard. A sixteen year veteran of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Emergency Service Unit, Howard received the City of New York’s Medal of Valor for his rescue of hundreds in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  He was killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s north tower while attempting to rescue victims inside. 

Lieutenant Colonel Paul T. Anderson. An Army paratrooper and Desert Storm veteran, Anderson was in his office in the Pentagon when the plane hit on September 11, 2001.  He is credited with leading more than fifty people out of the building to safety in the immediate aftermath of the crash, and then repeatedly returning to the building to search for survivors.

Lieutenant Commander David A. Tarantino. A Navy doctor assigned to the military’s humanitarian aid program, Tarantino escaped from the devastated wing of the Pentagon only to re-enter the burning building to search for survivors.

Lieutenant Thomas O’Hagen, Firefighters Paul Beyer, William Green, Thomas Holohan and William Johnson.  Engine Company Number 6 of the New York Fire Department was on of the first companies to arrive at the devastated World trade Center towers.  Rushing up forty stories, they led hundreds to safety from the burning building.  Only William Green survived.

Jeremy Glick. A marketing executive for an Internet company, Jeremy called his wife from United Flight 93 after the hijacking and learned that planes had already crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Jeremy, and at least two other passengers, led the resistance to the hijackers and thwarted their efforts to crash the plane into another target.

2000 Honorees

John Avera. Avera, a 25-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, was the first to arrive on the scene after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building.  Unconcerned with his own safety, he rushed into the building and began carrying people out of the rubble.

Robert Langford. After becoming the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office, Langford attempted to mend the rift between the black and white communities. His efforts led to the reopening of the investigation into the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that left four young girls dead. The investigation led to the indictment of two former Klansmen.

Donald Cannon and Tim Baughan. Cannon, a detective in the City of Sunrise Police Department and Baughan, a detective with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, worked jointly to quell the threat created by the activities of the World Church of the Creator.  As a result of their efforts and investigation many key leader of the group were arrested in connection with a series of attacks on minorities in Florida.

Eli Rosenbaum. Known as “America’s Chief Nazi Hunter,” Rosenbaum has led a team within the United States Department of Justice in tracking down the perpetrators of the Nazi Holocaust. As a result of his work, 64 Nazis living within the United States were stripped of their citizenship, and assets that were looted by the Nazis were recovered.

1999 Honorees

Ephraim Wolfe. Wolfe, 15, was one individual shot in a series of racially motivated attacks that left two men dead and nine others wounded.  Instead of allowing fear to consume him, Wolfe found a renewed pride in his faith.

Megan Miller. As a student at Concord-Carlisle High School in Boston, Miller organized a summit called Across the Lines, which attempted to represent the diverse population within her school and increase awareness concerning prejudice, stereotyping, inequality and injustice.  The relative success of the first summit provided the basis for the second which had double the number of attendance as the first.

Romaine Patterson.  In response to anti-homosexual demonstrations by the Reverend Fred Phelps at the memorial service of a murdered friend, Patterson organized a silent counter protest known as Angel Action.  This protest against intolerance involved Patterson and others using bed sheets to create a circle of “wings” to block Phelps and his demonstrators from being seen.   

Chuenee Sampson. Following the Crown Heights Riots, Sampson participated in the ADL’s student leaders program.  Following this training, she founded Students Against Violence Everywhere, a program designed to teach students about diversity and non-violent conflict resolution.

1998 Honorees

Sylvia Poggioli. Poggioli, a reporter for National Public Radio, provides accounts of the Bosnian Civil war through her interviews with the individuals who are lived through this tragedy. 

Sydney Shanberg.  Shanberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and reporter, provided a first hand account of the fall of Cambodia in 1975.  The memoir of his experiences in Cambodia titled The Death and Life of Dith Pran, was adapted into an Academy Award winning film.

Jerry Mitchell. Mitchell, an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi, was an Integral part of the continued investigation and reopening of the cases against Sam Bowers, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and Byron De La Beckwith, the individual responsible for the murder of Medgar Evers.  Mitchell is portrayed in the film, The Ghosts of Mississippi.

Gordon Parks.  As a LIFE Magazine photographer, Parks used his camera to present the reality of prejudice, intolerance and poverty in America, often through the images of children.  His perseverance though an impoverished childhood and the limitations imposed by a segregated society make him an inspiration.

1997 Honorees

Henna White and Jean Griffiths, founders of “Mothers to Mothers.”As a result of the racial violence in Crown Heights Brooklyn, in which Griffiths lost her son, these two women created “Mothers to Mothers,” a local group dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding between the black and Jewish population. “Mothers to Mothers” provides an open forum for discussion among the members and allows for a greater understanding between the groups.

Karen Mathews. Mathews Stanislaw County Clerk-Recorder refused to submit to the demands of a local “Patriot” group to illegally release tax liens on properties despite threats made to her life.  As a result of her integrity, she was attacked in her home and beaten in her home.  Though scared for her life, Matthews, with help from the San Francisco ADL, was able to confront her attacker and remain true to her principles.

Bill and Lindy Seltzer. In response to a KKK rally planned for their town, the Seltzer’s organized the “Project Lemonade” fundraiser.  This program collected coin pledges for every minute that the rally continued that would be given to the anti-bigotry organization of the donor’s choice.  At the end of the collection, the local KKK receives a report of the amount of money raised to fight their activities.  Despite death threats, “Project Lemonade” has continued, and has raised over $40,000.

Joseph Hartzler, Assistant U.S. Attorney and the Oklahoma City Prosecution Team. Following the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Hartzler agreed to undertake the prosecution of the individuals responsible for the murder of 168 people.  Along with the prosecution team, Hartzler was able to successfully prosecute the individuals responsible for the bombing who were motivated by the desire to destroy the United States government and cleanse the nation of minorities.

1996 Honorees

Aaron Flicker. Flicker, 16, was one individual in a series of attacks in 1995 as a part of a gang initiation. He was randomly selected and attacked due to the fact that he is Jewish.  This incident led to the “Unity Walk for Roselawn,” sending a unified statement from Cincinnati and Roselawn against bigotry. 

Thang Nguyen. Nguyen’s son Luyen was chased from a party and beaten to death for being Vietnamese in front of the other party guests. 

Tom Donegan.  Donegan and a friend were attacked by two teenage boys for being Gay. After his friend was badly injured, a group of bystanders came to their aid.  Despite the time commitment and inconvenience the thirteen witnesses subpoenaed to testify against the attackers all showed up for the trial resulting in the conviction of the two teenagers under the city’s hate crime law.

Reverand Terrance G. Mackey, Sr. Mackey’s church was burned in 1995 by members of the KKK who were attempting to initiate a race war.  Less than a year after the original church was burned, the newly built replacement was dedicated. 

Gary Svee, editor of the Billings Gazette. In response to the vandalism of a local child’s Menorah displayed in his window, Svee printed an article and paper Menorah requesting that the citizens of Billings, Montana display the Menorah as a symbol of solidarity and religious freedom.  As a result, over 10,000 menorahs were displayed in Billings and a recent wave of hate crimes was ended.

1995 Honorees

Germaine Belline. Belline provided identification papers to a Jewish family in German occupied Belgium. Throughout the war, she provided documents for thirty different people allowing for them to disappear and escape the Holocaust.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul General. Mendes defied the orders of the Portuguese government and continued to issue entrance visas to Jewish residents in Bordeaux, France who were seeking refuge in Portugal from the Nazi persecution.  Mendes was able to issue thousands of visas before the Nazis arrived in Bordeaux, and he was recalled to Portugal by his own government.

Monsignor Pierre-Marie Théas and Marie-Rose Gineste. Théas, a priest in unoccupied France in 1942, in response to deportations urged Catholics in his diocese to resist the Nazi’s anti-Semitic legislations.  He placed Gineste in charge of delivering the letters and finding hiding places and creating false documents for local Jews.