ACLU of Southern CA Honors Attorney Donald Passman and Director Frank Darabont at Torch of Liberty Gala

July 12, 2000 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


LOS ANGELES — At a gala dinner tonight, entertainment attorney and civil libertarian Donald S. Passman and writer/director Frank Darabont will receive the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California’s 2000 Torch of Liberty Award.

The award honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of civil rights and civil liberties. Emceeing the event this year is actress Maria Bello, who played Dr. Ana Del Amico on NBC’s “ER.”

“The Torch of Liberty was created to acknowledge the contributions made by individuals from the media and the arts and entertainment industry whose creative work affirms the democratic principles that underlie the promise of ‘liberty and justice for all,'” said Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California.

“Don Passman and Frank Darabont have each made lasting contributions to our understanding of freedom.”

As a prominent entertainment industry attorney, Donald Passman has guided the careers of some of the most popular artists in the world for more than two decades. His book, All You Need to Know About the Music Business, now in its 20th printing, continues to empower and guide individual musicians and others involved in the industry.

As a civil libertarian, Passman has served on the ACLU Foundation Board of Directors since 1995. He has also served on the board of City of Hope’s music industry chapter for over a decade. His efforts have greatly increased the medical center’s ability to fight cancer, HIV, and other life-threatening diseases through prevention, treatment, and research – and to strengthen patients’ rights and the rights of those with HIV.

Through his films, director Frank Darabont has opened hearts and minds to an array of issues central to the work of the ACLU. The Shawshank Redemption raised the essential questions of rehabilitation, prisoners’ rights, and fairness in the judicial system. In The Green Mile, Darabont challenged his audience to consider religion, spirituality, and the death penalty. Equal justice, prisoners’ rights, the death penalty, and abuse of authority in the criminal justice system — all issues central to the work of the ACLU — are given voice in his powerful words, vivid images, and fully fleshed-out characters.

Maria Bello, in addition to her acting, has been a tireless advocate on behalf of children across the world, from America’s urban areas, to Nicaragua and southern Africa.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 6:00 p.m. tonight at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.