Freedom Award Recipients (front)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has participated in programs marking the formal presentation of the 2007 Freedom Award in Memphis, Tennessee, the United States. In accepting the Award Tuesday night at the Memphis Convention Center, the President said the Award signifies in the eyes of the world that Liberia has embarked on an irreversible journey to reclaim its place among those nations that uphold fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech as the foundation of their political discourse. An Executive Mansion dispatch quotes the President as saying, inspite of generations of instability and wars, the struggle for democracy and civil liberties in Liberia has not been in vain.
Recounting the political advocacy that landed her in jail twenty-two years ago, the President said she left prison with a commitment to fight to the end to ensure that nobody in Liberia would ever experience what she had been subjected to. “This is why in our attempt to build a new Liberia, we must depart from the structures of the past, we must ensure freedom, social justice and equal opportunity for all of our people,” the Liberian leader reiterated.
The President thanked Mr. Joseph R. Hyde, III, Chairman of the National Civil Rights Museum’s Executive Committee and the Hyde Family Foundation for the support. The President also thanked the National Civil Rights Museum Board and its chairman for selecting her for the honor. “I accept this International Freedom Award of the Civil Rights Museum on behalf of my people, the people of Liberia, whose courage, resilience and the belief in a better life, whose quest for freedom, just and equally society launched me on a generation of struggle that has brought me to this historic hall today. “We cannot, must not and will not fail to achieve a better tomorrow,” the President concluded.
Historian and Civil Rights activist, Dr. John Hope Franklin and Basketball Legend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, called for more equal opportunities for minorities in the United States. They observed that despite progress made in bridging the racial divide, the economic gap between the poor and the rich continues to widen. Magic urged black millionaires and successful black entrepreneurs to invest in their communities to help empower their people. The basketball legend has invested more than one-billion dollars in the American economy, providing jobs for more than 30-thousand under privileged minorities. He has also provided more than 3-thousand scholarships to enable students attend nationally accredited colleges and universities in the United States.
Magic Johnson Tuesday night re-echoed an earlier announcement during a Press Conference of his intention to visit Liberia. Mr. Johnson said, President Sirleaf’s program to support education must be encouraged by all, because education holds the key to a brighter future for any country and its people.
Mr. Johnson’s aides and Liberian protocol officials will work out the exact details for the basketball legend’s visit to Liberia.
The Award presentation ceremony was also witnessed by Liberia’s ambassador to the United States, Charles Minor; Information Minister, Dr. Laurence Bropleh; Liberia Education Trust Executive, Mr. Robert Sirleaf and Chief of Protocol Eddie Dunn as well as Independent journalist and SKY-FM Proprietor, T. Max Jlateh.
The Freedom Award is an annual event for the National Civil Rights Museum. It is the Museum’s largest fundraiser, held each year to honor individuals who have made significant contribution in civil rights and who have laid the foundation for present and future leaders in the battle for human rights. The Award was launched in 1991 and has since served as a symbol of the ongoing fight for human rights both in America and worldwide.
The Liberian Government
© 2007 by The Perspective
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