On November 8, 2015, the ACLU of Southern California honored advocates of civil liberties at its 2015 Bill of Rights Dinner held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The evening opened with a performance by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles in celebration of this year's landmark Supreme Court decision that affirmed the freedom to marry. Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project James Esseks and Justice Therese Stewart of the First Appellate District Court presented the Ramona Ripston Liberty, Justice & Equality award to James Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges and civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto. Watch the clip. In his annual keynote, Hector Villagra, ACLU SoCal's executive director, addressed the national crisis of police brutality against communities of color and the urgent need for transparency and accountability. '
Get Lit's Rhiannon McGavin, Zariya Allen and Belissa Escobedo opened the second half of the program with a powerful spoken word performance, followed by ACLU SoCal Legal Director Peter Eliasberg, who gave a summary of ACLU SoCal victories in the last year. Watch the clip.
Singer and activist Ben Harper then gave a performance honoring his friend, rockstar activist and Bill of Rights award recipient Tom Morello. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore presented the award to Morello. Watch the clip.
The evening concluded with a tribute to Bill of Rights award recipient, actress and activist Kerry Washington. Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, and actress, producer and recording artist Zendaya presented. ACLU SoCal thanks its event sponsors featured in our tribute video.