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ACLU SoCal Communications & Media Advocacy, 213-977-5252,

May 10, 2019

The Five Men Who Spent Years in Prison Before Vindication Will Receive Individual Awards 

LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will honor at its annual awards luncheon five men who as teenagers were wrongly accused of the rape of a jogger in Central Park in New York in 1989. These men endured years of racially and politically charged betrayals by the justice system, national condemnation and prison brutality before finally being vindicated when the true attacker confessed.

The five men — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — will each receive a Roger Baldwin Courage Award.

“Everything on Earth was taken from these young men, leaving them only two things — their spirit and the knowledge in their hearts that they were innocent,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. “How many of us, faced with this soul-crushing adversity, would have given up? But in them — and in the clients we are honored to serve at the ACLU — there is a persistence of purpose that does not relent until the truth finally wins out.”

The story of these men and what they endured is told in the dramatic series, “When They See Us,” that debuts May 31 on Netflix. At the ACLU SoCal luncheon, this series — created, directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay — will receive the Social Responsibility in the Media Award.

The luncheon, celebrating a 25th anniversary, will also honor law firms and activist organizations that have partnered with the ACLU SoCal on cases:

  • Arnold & Porter LLP and the Immigrant Defenders Law Center will receive the Access to Justice Award
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP will receive the Civil Liberties Award
  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP will receive the Freedom of Information Award
  • Sidley Austin LLP will receive the Humanitarian Award
  • Sidley Austin LLP, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the National TPS Alliance will receive the Immigrant Justice Award
  • Kaye McLane Bednarski + Litt, LLP will receive the LGBTQ Equality Award

The ACLU SoCal 25th Annual Luncheon will be on June 7, 2019, at noon at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Ticket information is at 213-977-5229.