Ralph E. Kharas Award

The Ralph E. Kharas Award For Distinguished Service in Civil Liberties Of the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

The CNY Chapter presents an annual award named after Ralph Kharas, former dean of the Syracuse University School of Law. His gentle humor, quiet dignity, and ability to listen fairly and report concisely were widely appreciated. Although recipients have generally been individuals, organizations are also eligible. The criteria for the award include the following:
  1. The recipient should be someone involved with civil liberties within the area served by the chapter.
  2. The recipient should have a long standing commitment to civil liberties, although this commitment may not have been previously recognized.
  3. The award is intended to recognize direct service and/or significant single acts in the defense of civil liberties. The implication is that recipients should have gone out of their way, perhaps at a risk of personal loss or loss of community support.
  4. There is a fine line between civil liberties and civil rights. Priority should be given to acts in defense of civil liberties.
CNY-NYCLU -- Kharas Award Chronology (with keynote speaker for award dinner) 1966   Norman Balabanian 1967   Thomas Szasz 1968   Faith Seidenberg. Keynote: Algernon D. Black, leader of the Society for Ethical Culture 1969   Theodore Jacobus, M.D -- pioneering abortion provider 1970   Richard Mosher 1971   Ken Donaldson 1972   Bernice Schultz 1973   Isadora Greenberg 197?   Ellen Fairchild -- women’s health advocate, Planned Parenthood 1979   Evelyn Zaleon (Posthumous) 1980   Bonnie Strunk -- attorney, lesbian and gay rights advocate. Keynote: Alvin Bronstein director, ACLU National Prison Project 1981   Center for Human Policy at Syracuse University 198?   Dann Braveman. Keynote: Morton H. Halperin Center for National Security Studies 198?   Chapter Founders Bob Anderson, Norman Balabanian, Julian Friedman, Jesse Burkhead 1985   Karen DeCrow -- attorney, women's rights advocate 1986   Betty Bone Schiess -- first woman ordained as Episcopal priest. Keynote: Michael Meyers, former NAACP Legal Counsel/ACLU and NYCLU Board / executive director, RACE Inc. (Research and Advocacy Center for Equality) 1987   Harry Freeman Jones -- lesbian and gay rights advocate. Keynote: Wiliam Kunstler, co-founder of Center for Constitutional Rights 1988   Sally Johnston -- disability rights advocate / community activist 1989   Walt Sheppard -- journalist / media rights advocate 1990   Vivian Moore -- human rights worker. Keynote: Norman Dorsen ACLU President 1991   Agnes Weis -- civil liberties advocate 1992   Sally Berry -- advocate for battered women / Vera House. Keynote: Nadine Strossen ACLU President 1993   Joseph Heath -- attorney/advocate for children's and prisoner's rights. Keynote: Alvin Bronstein, director, ACLU National Prison Project 1994   Jack Yoffa M.D. (Ob/Gyn) -- reproductive rights advocate. Keynote: Doug Bicklen, professor of special education at SU/director of the Facilitated Communication Institute 1995   Lawrence Rockwood -- captain, U.S. Army, advocate for human rights in Haiti. Keynote: Ramsey Clark, civil rights attorney / former U.S. attorney general 1996   Margaret Stinson -- People Against the Death Penalty. Keynote: Jonathan Gradess, New York State Defenders Association 1997   Kathleen Rumpf -- peace and justice activist / jail ministry. Keynote: Chris Hansen senior staff attorny, ACLU / lead counsel, ACLU v. Reno 1998   The Syracuse Seven -- seven local activists who protested the U.S. military's "School of the Americas". Keynote: Chris Dunn staff attorney, NYCLU / lead counsel, NYCLU education adequacy case 1999   Paulette Johnson & Patricia Waelder -- leaders on behalf of Education Equity. Keynote: Alan Rosenthalcivil rights attorney 2000   Bill Cuddy -- Jail Ministry Activist. Keynote: Ira Glasser executive director, ACLU 2001   Sid Ogelsby -- legislator/advocate for the rights of African-Americans. Keynote: Daniel Jezer rabbi, Congregations Beth Shalom Chevra Shas and Don Hansen, director, InterReligious Council of CNY 2002   Allen Rosenthal -- civil rights attorney and activist. Keynote: Anthony Romero executive director, ACLU 2003   Jerome Berrigan -- activist for peace and social justice. Keynote Timothy Edgar staff attorney, ACLU DC Legislative Office 2004   Magda Bayoumi -- human rights advocate and cross-cultural bridge builder. Keynote: Abdeen Jabara civil rights attorney 2005   Special Lifetime Program for Faith Seidenberg -– No Award given this year. Speakers: family and friends of Faith Seidenberg; Ira Glasser, former director, ACLU 2006   Susan Long and David Burnham -- founders of the Transactional Records Analysis Center (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Keynote: Donna Lieberman executive director, NYCLU 2007   Michael Schwartz -- law professor and advocate for people with disabilities. Keynote: Joyce Bender, Bender Associates Consulting, disability advocate 2008   Donna Reese -- community activist for racial and social justice. Keynote: Jonathan Gradess, director, New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA)  
CNY Chapter -- Special Recognition Awards 1985   Burton Blatt -- Dean of SU School of Education (given posthumously) 1989   Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 150 -- Standing Up for workers rights to free speech and assembly 1993 •   Charles Anderson -- Common Counselor / Advocacy for Civilian Review Board •   Ibrahim Rubama -- service to chapter 1994   Marcy Waldauer -- former chapter director / service to chapter 1997   Micere Githae Mugo -- Kenyan free speech and social justice activist / college professor and author 2000   Elisabeth Passer  
Youth Recognition Awards 1998 •   Amber Long -- advocate for student's rights in Cayuga County High School. •   Sarah McMaster -- advocate for student's rights in Cayuga County High School.  

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