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DECEMBER 1, 1998  10:51 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: American Civil Liberties Union
415/621-2493 x46
 
ACLU Honors Rep. Dellums, Others At Bill of Rights Day Celebration
 
SAN FRANCISCO - December 1 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California will honor Representative Ronald V. Dellums and other civil liberties champions at its annual Bill of Rights Day Celebration on Sunday, December 6, at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco at 3 PM.

The Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award, which honors champions in the fight for constitutional rights, will be presented to Representative Ronald V. Dellums. In 1998, Congressman Dellums retired from a remarkable career spanning three decades representing California's Eighth Congressional District (Oakland and Berkeley) in the House of Representatives.

"Nationally renowned for his courageous advocacy for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, we in Northern California are proud to claim this outstanding legislator as our own," said Dick Grosboll, Board Chair of the ACLU of Northern California.

"A tireless fighter for civil liberties, Dellums spoke out against the death penalty, the criminalization of inner city youth, attacks on lesbian and gay rights, and the denial of services to immigrants and welfare recipients," he added.

First elected to Congress in 1970 as an opponent of the Vietnam War, Dellums became a recognized expert in military and foreign policy and ascended to the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. A strong proponent of the inextricable link between peace and justice, he spearheaded initiatives to end the Reagan-era military build-up and U.S. support for apartheid in South Africa, and challenged roll-backs in affirmative action and civil rights. As chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Dellums led the effort to redefine national priorities through the budget process, always advocating for a more just America.

Laura Murphy, the first woman and first African American to direct the Washington National Office of the ACLU, is also slated to speak at the celebration. Murphy leads the team of ACLU lobbyists on a wide variety of issues ranging from cyber-censorship and other First Amendment issues to criminal justice, reproductive freedom, immigrant rights and racial justice. She was honored by the Congressional Black Caucus in 1997 and cited for her First Amendment work by Roll Call, the oldest paper on Capitol Hill, as one of the 50 most influential Washingtonians in Congressional politics.

In addition, the Lola Hanzel Courageous Advocacy Award will be presented to longtime ACLU-NC activist Steve Fabian, Deputy Public Defender of Sonoma County. Fabian has been a strong voice for civil liberties in Sonoma County for over a decade. As newly-elected Chapter Chair, Fabian launched the first Sonoma Chapter newsletter, "Sonoma Civil Liberties," which today has a circulation of 1,200. Fabian often appears on talk radio and television commenting on key ACLU issues such as immigrant rights, the death penalty, the "three strikes" law and censorship.

"Steve's tireless activism, vision and leadership has turned the ACLU Sonoma County Chapter into one of the most successful chapters in Northern California, if not the country," said Grosboll. "The Sonoma Chapter is one of the most active chapters in Northern California, playing leadership roles in the campaigns to defeat Propositions 187 and 209."

The Bill of Rights Day Celebration will feature creative works from numerous high school students including the "Freedom of Expression Art Show," a juried exhibit organized by the San Francisco Chapter of the ACLU and highlights of the video "Tribal Sovereignty: Uplugged," featuring the ACLU-sponsored journey of high school students to study tribal sovereignty. The highly acclaimed Berkeley High Jazz Combo will perform at the reception.

Tickets are $25 ($10 for seniors and students, free to students under 18) and are available by calling 415/621-2493 x46. The program begins at 3 PM and the reception starts at 4:30 PM. The event is wheelchair accessible, and ASL interpretation is available with one-week advance notice. The event is open to the public but seating is limited so advance purchase is encouraged.

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