Justice A.A. Birch, Jr., Former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice, Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

November 17, 2010

Grammy-winner Nanci Griffith to Perform at ACLU of Tennessee Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

Nashville – Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., the first African-American to serve as Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his enduring commitment to equality and justice at the ACLU of Tennessee Bill of Rights Celebration on November 20.

"Justice Birch's courageous voice—from his days defending students at the Nashville lunch-counter sit-ins to his promotion of access to justice for all litigants and fairness in the treatment of criminal defendants—has been a beacon for equality in this state," said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director.

Marianne Bentley, dedicated civil libertarian and long-time ACLU-TN volunteer, will receive the Heather Harper Volunteer Award.

Grammy-award winning songwriter and recording artist Nanci Griffith will perform a selection from her new album, The Loving Kind.

Attorney Omar C. Jadwat, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project Attorney and co-lead counsel in the challenge to Arizona's recent SB 1070 racial profiling law, will be the keynote speaker.

"This year's event will be an inspiring tribute to those who have gone the extra mile to safeguard the Constitution and Bill of Rights for all," said Weinberg.

At the forefront of civil liberties battles across Tennessee, ACLU-TN employs a range of strategies, including advocacy, education, legislative lobbying and litigation, to ensure that Tennesseans' constitutional freedoms are guaranteed.  An affiliate of the national ACLU, ACLU-TN is a private, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization.

Recent successes include launching an online resource center aimed at preserving due process for immigrants; successfully defending religious freedom in a suit challenging one school system's graduation prayer and Bible distribution; working in coalition to organize a community hearing on racial profiling; defeating the "Don't Say Gay in School" bill (a legislative attempt to restrict free speech and attack LGBT rights); and protecting students' right to freedom of expression.

The ACLU-TN Bill of Rights Celebration will begin at 6:30 pm with a silent auction of autographed books, art and more.  Dinner, the awards presentation, Griffith's musical performance and Jadwat's keynote address will follow at 7:45 p.m.  The Celebration will take place at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, 2100 West End Avenue, in Nashville.

Tickets are $120 per person and a table for ten is $1200. Seating is limited – tickets can be reserved by calling the ACLU-TN office at 615-320-7142 or visiting http://www.aclu-tn.org/event112010.htm.

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