Tennessee Celebrates International Human Rights Day 2021 with Phenomenal Leaders

Top Quote Tennesseans gather each year in December to celebrate International Human Rights Day. This year, the event was held virtually and livestreamed on www.facebook.com/tennesseehumanrights. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 17, 2021 - During the event, leaders were acknowledged and awards were given to human rights champions in three categories: Rising Advocate, Outstanding Service, and Lifetime Achievement.

    Beverly Watts, director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, served as master of ceremonies for the affair. Mel Fowler-Green, director of the Metro Human Relations Commission, gave remarks on the theme: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Foundation for Dignity.” A Q&A incorporating the theme was moderated by David Plazas of the Tennessean, and he posed questions to Zulfat Suara, a 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award for Human Rights and first Muslim elected to Metro Council.

    The Rising Advocate Awards went to Timothy Hughes, an activist who works at the intersection of public policy & social justice; and Joseph Gutierrez, the Education Program Officer at the Dan and Margaret Maddox Fund who also coordinates the work of API Middle Tennessee, an Asian & Pacific Islander-serving community-based organization.

    The Outstanding Service Award went to Judge Rachel Bell who has served as a judge since 2012, during which time she established a community court that has a mission to focus on preventive, diversionary, and restorative justice initiatives to move the needle for marginalized people.

    The Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Ms. Andrea Conte, former first lady of Tennessee and founder of You Have the Power; and Rev. Enoch Fuzz, the pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church who has long advocated for all people.

    A committee of human rights organizations, nonprofits, and advocates, including the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, Tennessee United for Human Rights, the Church of Scientology, and others, work together each year to plan the event.

    “Each year on Human Rights Day we look at challenges–those we have overcome and those we face. We hope that a brief look at our victories will give us the hope and strength to reach into the future,” says planning committee chair Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology in Nashville. “The day centers around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this year we focus on human rights as the foundation for dignity.”

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