Who: Erin Gruwell, and The Erin Gruwell Education Project
What: The Roger E. Joseph Prize is an international award presented annually to an individual or organization which, by virtue of religious and moral commitment, has made a distinctive contribution to humanity. Established in 1978, previous recipients of the $10,000 award include Victor Kugler, who gave refuge to Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust; Helen Suzman, the South African anti-apartheid activist; Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern American civil rights movement; the village of Le Chambon, which gave refuge to Jews and Christians fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust; posthumously to Johan Jorgen Holst, for facilitating the Middle East Peace Accords; The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library in London and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw for their preservation and dissemination of historic information about the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust; the Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris Dees, Jr. for their decades-long legal work pursuing justice and fair treatment while combating prejudice and hate; Chaplain Mychal Judge, posthumously, and The City of New York Fire Department; and Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and The Daniel Pearl Foundation.
Why: Erin Gruwell is the Founder and President of the Erin Gruwell Education Project, a non-profit organization devoted to teaching tolerance, funding college scholarships for underprivileged students, and propagating their vision for revolutionizing education for at-risk students in America. She also created and led the "Ambassadors of Tolerance Tour," which took her students, named the Freedom Writers, to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Anne Frank's attic in Amsterdam, and war-torn Sarajevo.
When: The 2004 Roger E. Joseph Prize will be presented at HUC-JIR's Ordination and Investiture Services on Sunday, May 23, 2004 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: The ceremony will take place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 65th Street, New York City.