Bennett President Receives Human Rights Award
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole with its Joseph Prize for Human Rights during their National Executive Committee Meeting last month. The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.
The ADL established the Joseph Prize for Human Rights two decades ago to honor distinguished individuals who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of human rights and who have helped to achieve and maintain democratic ideals for all humankind. Past recipients of the prize include Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Jordan’s King Hussein, South African President F.W. de Klerk, humanitarian Elie Wiesel, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Congressman John Lewis and President George H.W. Bush.
“There are no words that can capture the deep sense of honor and pride that I feel in becoming a recipient of ADL’s Joseph Prize, a prize that lifts up the simple but powerful truth that we need and deserve a world where no one is defamed because of the color of their skin, their gender, their religion, their age, their sexual orientation or their physical or mental disability,” Cole said. “In accepting this truly coveted prize, I know that I must continue to work for that day when difference doesn’t make any more difference.”
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of ADL, said that Cole’s name stood out as the executive committee was considering recipients for this year’s Joseph Prize. Barbara B. Balser, national chairwoman of the ADL, said that the committee is especially pleased to honor Cole during the year of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Joseph Prize is awarded with a $10,000 honorarium and a medallion.
Cole has a long and distinguished career as an educator and humanitarian. Her work as a college professor and president, her published works, her speeches and her community service, consistently address questions of bigotry and discrimination. She is an active participant in numerous community and civic organizations. In May, Cole will make history as she becomes the first African American to chair the board of trustees of United Way of America.
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