Human Rights Day in Tennessee has become a time to celebrate the leaders of yesterday and recognize those taking up the torch for tomorrow, a time to look at battles won and lessons learned as well as to inspire the youth of today to do something about the state of the world tomorrow. It occurs each year on December 10, and this year the celebration will take place at the First Amendment Center from 5-7 pm.
The event is free and open to the public.
The focus will be on the winners of the Human Rights Lifetime Achievement awards. Awardees in this category are Father Joseph Breen, formerly of St. Edward Church who is known widely for his work to strike down the 2009 ‘English Only’ proposition in Nashville; and First Baptist Church Capitol Hill which has long served as a beacon for the civil rights movement. In 2008, John Seigenthaler was a recipient of the award. In 2012, George Barrett received the honor. This year, both of these great men passed away. So in their honor, the planning committee for the Human Rights Day celebration will pay them special tribute during the celebration.
‘Rising Advocate’ awards will also be given to individuals who have been working in the field of human rights for a short time, but show great promise for the future.
“This is a great chance to recognize the leaders of tomorrow,” said Planning Committee Chair Rev. Brian Fesler.
Rising Advocate awards this year will go to Eben Cathey with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Daynise Joseph with Organized Neighbors of Edgehill.
The committee has also created a new award this year: the Outstanding Service for Human Rights Award.
Recipients of this honor include: Yuri Cunza with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Avi Poster who has championed immigrant rights, fair housing and the reduction of poverty for years.
The committee organizing the event for Human Rights Day includes the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, Church of Scientology and Muslim Women’s Council. For more information or to become involved, visit