October 27, 2016
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Civil Rights Museum Awards Highest Honors


MEMPHIS --  The 2010 Freedom Awards by the National Civil Rights Museum will be presented to Dr. Wangari Maathi of Kenya for environmental and human rights, Dr. Dorothy Cotton for civil rights and social change and Eva Longoria Parker for philanthropy and humanitarianism.

Dr. Wangari Maathi, International Freedom Award honoree, founded the Greenbelt Movement which has assisted planting more than 40 million trees on community lands including farms, schools and church compounds.

The Green Belt Movement carried out pro-democracy activities such as registering voters for the election and pressing for constitutional reform and freedom of expression. Her name became universal and her mission of freedom and democracy gained worldwide support.

Dr. Maathi became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Once a target for assassination, Maathi was elected to parliament in the 2002 elections and defeated the ruling party Kenya African National Union.

In all she has been recognized and received over 23 national and international awards, including:

2005-- Time Magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world, and by Forbes Magazine as one of 100 most powerful women in the world

2007-- Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

2009-- NAACP Image Award - Chairman's Award

The International Freedom Award is sponsored by the Hyde Family Foundations.

Dr. Dorothy Cotton, National Freedom Award honoree, was one of the highest ranking women in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Cotton served as Education Director and worked closely with Dr. King during the civil rights movement and was in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968 the day King was assassinated. Dr. Cotton later served as the Vice President for Field Operations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change inAtlanta, Georgia where she was a leader and senior trainer for the Center in areas nonviolence and empowerment for leadership.

Under the Carter Administration, she served as the Southeastern Regional Director of ACTION, the Federal Government's agency for volunteer programs from 1978 to 1981.  

From 1982 to May 1991, she was the Director of Student Activities at Cornell University. Dr. Cotton has designed and conducted training programs for corporations, schools, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations working with well over 100,000 participants. She serves as a valuable resource to organizations on diverse topics addressing race relations, multiculturalism/diversity, communication, personal development, spiritual growth, human relations, citizenship education, civic organizing for the 21st century and nonviolence education.

The National Freedom Award is sponsored by International Paper.

Eva Longoria Parker, Legacy Freedom Award honoree, is a Golden Globe nominee, Screen Actors Guild Award winner, People's Choice Award winner, and ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Award) winner. She stars as 'Gabrielle Solis' on the ABC mega-hit "Desperate Housewives," but the actress' most important role is the one she plays off screen in her altruistic endeavors within the Hispanic and charitable communities.

She received the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts' Horizon Award, presented each year to the individual or organization whose work most advances the presence of Latinos in television and/or film. At the 21st National Hispanic Women's Conference, the Hispanic Women's Corporation awarded her the "Latina Visionary and Community Empowerment Award" for her contributions to the Latin community.

Longoria Parker received The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2010 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service and was named philanthropist of the year in 2009 by the Hollywood Reporter.

She founded the non-profit organization 'Eva's Heroes', which provides an after school program with an inclusive setting for individuals with developmental disabilities to interact, play, and grow with their typically-developing peers.

She is the National Spokesperson for PADRES Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer) for over 4 years, Longoria Parkercurrently works closely with The United Farm Workers (UFW), The Mexican American Legal Defense Educational Fund (MALDEF), the Dolores Huerta Foundation, The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the Cesar Chavez Foundation.

All three honorees will speak at the free Public Forum for approximately 5,000 school students at 10:00 am on October 6, 2010.

The Freedom Awards ceremony will be held October 6, 2010 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is located at the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Museum has been honoring leaders in civil and human rights since 1991. www.civilrightsmuseum.org


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