Tennessee Human Rights Day Celebration Shines Light on Dignity for All – Funds Spectrum

What happens when a diverse crowd gathers in the name of dignity for all? It can only be described as “magical.” 

Tennessee, US, 9th December 2023, ZEX PR WIRE, Tennesseans of differing races, colors and creeds gathered for the annual celebration of International Human Rights Day this week. During the event, leaders were acknowledged and awards recognizing human rights champions were given in three categories: Rising Advocate, Outstanding Service and Lifetime Achievement.

Muriel Nolen, director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, served as master of ceremonies for the affair. Rev. Davie Tucker, director of Metro Human Relations Commission, made special remarks on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and how it applies locally. The president of the Nashville Cordell Hull chapter of the United Nations Association, David Whitfield, spoke on the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR. The theme, “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All,” was explored by a special panel with David Plazas of the Tennnessean moderating, and Rabbi Michael Danziger reacting. 

Special remarks also came from Samar Ali, professor of Political Science and Law for Vanderbilt University. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ludye Wallace, who served on the Metro Council of Nashville and Davidson County for twenty-eight years, and has served the Nashville Chapter of the NAACP in various roles for decades.

Outstanding Service Awards went to Tamika Braden who founded The HELP Center in Nashville, TN in 2014 to help prison inmates get good-paying jobs, continued education, and support after they return to their homes; Jenn Garcia who has been dedicated to serving youth in Davidson County and Middle TN with the Oasis Center for nearly 20 years; Martesha Johnson Moore, the Nashville Metropolitan Chief Public Defender, a Nashville native and the first African-American to be elected to this position who has devoted her entire career to public defense work; and Kelly Sue Waller, director of Southern Crossroads who began a campaign for affordable housing in Shelby County. 

Rising Advocate Awards went to Kosar Kosar, an organizer at TIRRC, advocating on behalf of immigrant/refugee communities across TN; and Zacnite Vargas, President of the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) who has been instrumental in forming the Health Equity Coalition, addressing health disparities in Davidson County.

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 Scarritt Bennett Center, the Nashville Cordell Hull chapter of the United Nations Association, the Church of Scientology and others, work together each year to plan the event.

“Human Rights Day is a day to remember past advances in human rights, to honor those who have made our lives better. It’s also a day to refresh and restore and be inspired for the following year, and a sort of annual reunion of the state’s various agencies and organizations who work daily to make human rights a fact,” 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 how human rights advance universal freedom.”

For more information on Human Rights Day or to see videos of the award recipients, visit tnuhr.org. 

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Funds Spectrum journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.