On Thursday evening in Albany, the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Capital Region Chapter will honor two state legislators for their long-time advocacy of fair marriage laws, and a grassroots coalition that fights injustice in the state’s prison system.

State Sen. Thomas K. Duane and Assembly Member Daniel J. O’Donnell will be honored for taking courageous stands in support of giving all New Yorkers the freedom to marry. The New York State Prisoner Justice Network will be recognized for challenging pervasive injustice and abuse in the state’s prisons. Naomi Jaffe, Shoshana Brown and Victorio Reyes will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

Senator Duane and Assembly Member O’Donnell, both the first openly gay men in their respective legislative bodies, will receive the Ned Pattison Award for their principled—and often unpopular—stands as public officials. The award celebrates the life and values of the late Congressman Edward W. “Ned” Pattison, known for his deep concern for the poor and powerless, even when doing so jeopardized his political ambitions.

The New York State Prisoner Justice Network is an alliance that brings together dozens of organizations that seek to reform the prison system. It is a statewide voice opposing mass incarceration, disproportionate imprisonment of people of color, abusive prison conditions, punitive parole policies and long-term solitary confinement. It supports restorative justice, alternatives to incarceration and community-based solutions. Brown, Jaffe and Reyes are founding members of the network.

The Prisoner Justice Network will receive the Carol S. Knox Award, which celebrates the memory of Carol Knox, who met her husband, Lee Wasserman, when they worked as NYCLU volunteer attorneys. Carol is remembered for her unfailing warmth and good humor, as well as for her and uncommon wisdom, persistence and integrity.

NYCLU Capital Region Chapter Annual Awards Dinner

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10

The Polish Community Center, 225 Washington Avenue Extension in Albany

Recipients of the Ned Pattison Award:
State Sen. Thomas K. Duane, D-29th District
Assembly Member Daniel J. O’Donnell, D-69th District

Recipients of the Carol S. Knox Award:
Naomi Jaffe, co-founder, New York State Prisoner Justice Network
Shoshana Brown, co-founder, New York State Prisoner Justice Network
Victorio Reyes, co-founder, New York State Prisoner Justice Network