The ACLU Foundation of Southern California hosted its 23rd annual awards luncheon on June 23, honoring law firms and individuals who have worked with the ACLU SoCal in the past year on a variety of civil liberty and social justice cases.
Also, as is tradition, the ACLU SoCal honored creative talents from the entertainment world whose work is aligned with the mission and goals of the organization. This year, the Social Advocacy in the Media Award went to “When We Rise,” the landmark television series that depicts the struggle for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. The award was presented by actor T.R. Knight to series creator/writer Dustin Lance Black.
Special recognition this year went to the “airport lawyers” who rushed to LAX and other airports to help visitors and immigrants caught up in the illegal federal travel ban. And attorney Carol Sobel who received the Lifetime Advocate for Justice Award for her epic career as a committed advocate for homeless people, protestors and other marginalized groups.
“In this difficult time, the honorees went far beyond expressing sympathy for rights and liberties under attack,” said ACLU SoCal Executive Director Hector Villagra. “It’s far easier to celebrate civil liberties than to defend them. The advocates we are honoring have done the hard work of converting civil liberties aspirations into reality.”
Other awards that were presented at the luncheon included:
- First Amendment Award: Bois Schiller Flexner LLP for its successful effort to prohibit L.A. County from adding a religious symbol to the county seal.
- Humanitarian Award: K&L Gates LLP, for its tireless fights for the rights of immigrant children.
- Community Service Award: Nixon Peabody LLP, for its contract negotiations on the ACLU’s Mobile Justice app.
- Homeless Rights Advocacy Award: Paul Hastings LLP, for an ongoing lawsuit that aims to end the criminalization of homelessness.
- Access to Justice Award: Sidley Austin LLP, for being an unflinching partner in a groundbreaking suit arguing for the rights to bond hearings for detained immigrants.