BEVERLY HILLS — In a rare public appearance since her brave testimony before Congress last year, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford received the Rodger Baldwin Courage Award at the ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights dinner Sunday night.
Ford, whose presence at the event was not previously disclosed, got a long standing ovation and cheers from the crowd when she appeared on stage to accept the award. Last year, Ford — who is a professor and research psychologist — testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about being sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen," Ford said. "I had a responsibility to my country, to my fellow citizens, to my students, to my children."
Right-wing media incessantly attacked her, and President Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets. Kavanaugh's nomination was later approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.
But the attacks on Ford continued. "I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks," she told the crowd on Sunday. "I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home."
Ford told the crowd that public support gives strength to those who are attacked.
"My voice was just one voice," she said. "You are many. We are many."
Ford was introduced by Judd Apatow, who called her "A true American hero."
Other awards bestowed at the event went to actor Don Cheadle and songwriter Justin Tranter, both of whom are activists with deep commitments to social justice causes. Singer Selena Gomez was a presenter and actress/singer Chrissy Metz performed, backed by a choir.
In addition, actor Bob Balaban presented an award to his cousin, longtime activist Judy Balaban.