| The 2010 United Nations theme for Human Rights Day was to honor “Human Rights Defenders who Act to End Discrimination.” Speaking to that was the Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., son of the late Rev. Kelly Miller Smith, Sr., noted for his prominent role as an activist and leader during Nashville’s civil rights movement.An awards ceremony honored three lifelong human rights workers for their dedication to and courage in making human rights a reality for us all. Receiving the awards were:
- Rev. Dr. Don Beisswenger, retired Vanderbilt Divinity School professor, who was imprisoned in 2004 for his act of civil disobedience against the School of the Americas
- Dr. Tommie Morton-Young, author, scholar and activist advocating for women, minorities, and the disadvantaged, who initiated hearings by the US Commission on Civil Rights on pay equity for women and minorities and school placement of students.
- Ms. Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg, J.D., attorney and civil rights activist, who authored Tennessee’s first law on antidiscrimi-nation in employment and public accommodations and founded the Memphis Chapter of the Panel of American Women to help heal the breach following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
|| Members of a panel discussed the paths they took to become human rights defenders and the challenges they faced in Nashville. Panelists included:
- Ms. Kasar Abdulla, Director of Advocacy and Education, Tennessee Immigrants and Refugees Rights Coalition
- Father Joseph Breen, Pastor, St. Edward’s Catholic Church
- Mr. José González, Co-founder, Conexión Américas and Instructor, Belmont University
- Dr. Oscar Miller, Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology, Tennessee State University
- Moderator: Ms. Mary Pat Williams Silveira, President, Nashville Cordell Hull Chapter, United Nations Association-USA
Ms. Beverly Watts, Executive Director, Tennessee Human Rights Commission, was Master of Ceremonies for the event.