Honorees

2014 Honorees

    • Domestic Honoree – Freedom Schools

This year Global Exchange will honor the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Schools, free schools for African-Americans living in the South during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Conceived first by Charles Cobb, an activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the schools were launched in 1964, as part of the Freedom Summer. By the end of the summer, more than 40 schools had been opened, serving over 2,500 students. Through critical inquiry and civic engagement, the Freedom Schools inspired a generation of students to take action for voting rights, civil rights, and justice.

Global Exchange will bring Charlie Cobb,  visionary of the Freedom Schools; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the Freedom Singers and cultural historian; and Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders, an organization committed to training and organizing youth students in nonviolent resistance. These powerful leaders will speak to their activism for civil rights, their challenges, courage and success in changing history, their current work for justice, and how Freedom Schools offer a relevant organizing model for radical social change today.

  • International Honoree – María Estela Barco Huerta

Ms. Barco has played a leading role in organizing Agro-Ecology Learning Exchanges in Chiapas, Mexico at DESMI (Desarrollo Económico Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas), a Mexican non-governmental organization based in the state of Chiapas. These exchanges bring together activists from across Latin America to confront the challenges of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), encroaching agribusinesses, and loss of value and culture for peasant farmers in the region and to create innovative solutions. As Chiapas was and still is ‘ground zero’ for NAFTA and its devastating impact on Mexican agriculture, Ms. Barco’s work to create solutions for small indigenous farmers is crucial.

  • People’s Choice Award – The Cuban Five

Five Cuban agents who were working in Miami, FL, in the 1990s to infiltrate groups openly plotting attacks Cuban civilians, the Cuban Five were arrested following lengthy surveillance by the FBI. The situation surrounding the case of the Cuban Five should be understood as a microcosm for relations between the United States and Cuba at that time, and into the present day. Their capture, detention, and sentencing has been widely criticized, including the call for their release by eight international Nobel Prize winners and Amnesty International.

About the Human Rights Awards

Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards are grounded in our commitment to ensuring that the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are respected and upheld by our world’s governments and private institutions. Since our founding in 1988, we have partnered with individuals and organizations throughout the world to educate people about threats to political, economic, social and environmental justice and to activate individuals and communities to confront these problems effectively. With these annual awards, Global Exchange recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations defending human rights in their own countries and around the world.