Awards and Honorees

Abolition Award
Senator Bernie Sanders
Presented by: Jane Sanders

Sen. Sanders was the first presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to forcefully declare his opposition to the death penalty. He then played an enormous role in getting the Democratic Party to adopt abolition of capital punishment as a plank in its official platform last year.

Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage of Award
Judy Clarke and Speedy Rice
Presented by: Sr. Helen Prejean

Judy Clarke has represented defendants in some of the most high-profile capital cases in recent history, including Susan Smith, Theodore Kaczynski, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. She has been recognized by the Ninth Circuit for her “sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law.”

Thomas H. Speedy Rice has led numerous international missions in the fight against the death penalty, including meetings with Heads of State, legislative bodies, judicial conferences, and UN and EU bodies. He has tried cases in U.S. State and Federal courts and argued appellate cases before a number of American courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Justice in the Arts Award
Joan Baez
Presented by: Mike Farrell

At times when it was neither safe nor fashionable, Ms. Baez has put herself on the line countless times, and her life’s work was mirrored in her music. She marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; organized resistance to the Vietnam War; and helped bring the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight. She marched with the Irish Peace People; inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic; helped established a fledgling organization called Amnesty International; and stood in the fields with Cesar Chavez and the migrant farmworkers; and she continues to fight for the abolition of capital punishment.

John Fugelsang will return for his third appearance as master of ceremonies.

The New Directions Veterans Choir will provide live musical entertainment. 

Stay tuned for updates on additional honorees and presenters.