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Freedom Award recipients announced; gala set for Oct. 30

Musician John Legend, feminist writer Gloria Steinem and Nigerian human rights activist Hafsat Nabiola are the designated recipients of the National Civil Rights Museum 2019 Freedom Award.

The annual awards, which honor civil and human rights leaders, will be presented Oct. 30 at The Orpheum theater Downtown..

John Legend

As a leading recording artist, Legend uses his influence and resources to promote social justice and equality. It was for this purpose that he launched the Show Me Campaign in 2007.

Drawing inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contemporaries, Legend believes that all children deserve a quality education that interrupts the cycle of poverty and allows them to fulfill their full potential.

His recording, “Preach,” targets a broken criminal justice system begging for reform.  His mini-series “Can’t Just Preach” follows survivors of tragedy as they tell their stories of resilience and change-making activism.

Hafsat Abiola

A Nigerian human rights, civil rights and democracy activist, Abiola is president of Women in Africa (WIA), the first global platform dedicated to the economic development and support of leading and high potential African women.

WIA supports, accompanies and contributes to the promotion of a new generation of African women to the service of an inclusive and innovative Africa. Through her non-profit, the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), she has worked to promote exemplary women leaders and build pathways to public service for them.

Abiola believes that the challenges facing the continent of Africa offer opportunities for women’s leadership to emerge. Her work is a tribute to her parents, who lost their lives while leading the democracy movement that brought an end to military rule in Nigeria in the ’90s.

Gloria Steinem

A writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer, Steinem travels globally as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent spokeswoman on issues of equality.

Steinem is particularly interested in the shared origins of gender and race caste systems, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples and in organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She co-founded the Women’s Action Alliance, a pioneering national information center that specialized in non-sexist, multi-racial children’s education, and the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group founded to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office.

Steinem also is the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national multi-racial, multi-issue fund that supports grassroots projects to empower women and girls. She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns and to learn cross-nationally.

(For more information, visit freedomaward.org.)

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