Johnnie Cochran to Keynote ACLU of Hawaii's 35th Anniversary Dinner

Affiliate: ACLU of Hawaii
October 5, 1999 12:00 am

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HONOLULU — Attorney Johnnie Cochran and Honorary Chair Governor Ben Cayetano will recognize six local advocates for exceptional civil rights work at the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii’s 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner on October 9 at the Japanese Cultural Center.

“By recognizing these six advocates, the ACLU of Hawaii continues to uphold its long-standing commitment as the guardian of individual freedoms in the United States,” said Cochran. “I am pleased to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to preserving the Bill of Rights, not only in the present, but for future generations as well.”

A prominent civil rights activist and philanthropist, Cochran is one of the nation’s foremost litigators. He has supported low-income housing projects, provided assistance to minority artists, and helped found the Domestic Violence Council of Los Angeles County during his tenure there as an Assistant District Attorney.

Recently, Cochran joined the ACLU of Southern California in a class-action civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of public high school students who were denied access to advanced placement courses.

Cochran is expected to focus on police misconduct in his keynote address. He has been involved in numerous high-profile cases, including his most recent civil rights suit involving state troopers charged with the attempted murder of black and Hispanic men on the New Jersey Turnpike. The case helped to highlight the national disgrace of racial profiling, which is examined in depth in the ACLU’s June 1999 report, “Driving While Black: Racial Profiling on Our Nation’s Highways.”

In recent years, the ACLU said, Hawaii has seen several cases of police misconduct. Recently, a number of police officers were indicted by the federal government for civil rights violations. The officers have been charged with the beating of a prisoner and conspiracy to cover it up.

Honorary Chair Gov. Ben Cayetano, who has made no secret of his “card-carrying” ACLU membership, will welcome honorees Jackie Young, attorneys Shelby Floyd and Eric Seitz, Norman Bode, Frances Viglielmo, and Irene Du Pont.

Young will receive the Allan F. Saunders Award for her role in the Protect Our Constitution campaign, which last year opposed the ballot measure to ban same gender marriage.

Floyd and Seitz will be presented the Loio Ku Kahi (“Outstanding Lawyer” in the native Hawaiian language) Award for their efforts in a lawsuit seeking educational services for public school children with special needs. Volunteers Bode, Viglielmo, and Du Pont will be honored for meritorious volunteer service to the ACLU mission.

Proceeds from this fundraising event will support the ACLU’s legal and public education programs in Hawaii.

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