Sin Fronteras receives the 1997 Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Domestic Award

Representative David E. Bonior (D-Michigan), House Democratic Whip, presented the 1997 Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Domestic Award to Carlos and Alicia Marentes from Sin Fronteras, during a joyful and moving ceremony held at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Saturday September 27, 1997. Representative Bonior, the second-ranking elected position in the House Democratic Leadership, highlighted the work of Sin Fronteras to bring dignity to the agricultural workers of the United States-México border, before presenting the award. He said that the work of Sin Fronteras is particularly important due to the low wages and the bad living and working conditions farmworkers must endure currently. Carlos and Alicia Marentes thanked the selection committee and the Institute for Policy Studies for the award and brought greetings from the farmworkers of Sin Fronteras.

During the 21st Annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Awards, the Mexican group Alianza Cívica (Civic Alliance) was presented the International Award for its efforts to promote clean and democratic elections. The award was presented by Ruth Adams, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) which organizes this event to honor the memory of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who where murdered in 1976 when a bomb exploded in their car near Sheridan Circle in Washington, D.C. Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the Unites States and Moffitt were at that time working in the IPS. Martha Pérez and Sergio Aguayo, from Alianza Cívica received the award from the hands of Ruth Adams.

The Rev. Dr. Mac Charles Jones received an especial posthumously human rights award for his work to bring attention and action to the arson attacks of African-American churches in the South. His widow, Jannella Johnson Jones accepted the award presented by The Rev. Sam Mann, long time friend of Rev. Mac Charles Jones and well know civil rights activist.

The ceremony was conducted by James Early, director of Cultural Communications with the Smithsonian Institute and the welcome and opening speech was pronounced by John Cavanagh, Co-Director of the IPS. After welcoming the guests and awardees on behalf of the IPS, Cavanagh informed briefly about new developments in the efforts to bring into justice in Spanish courts the responsible for the murder of Letelier and Moffitt, General Augusto Pinochet.

The musical tribute was performed by Toshi Reagon with her band Big Lovely. The event was well attended and the guests included a large group of friends and relatives of the awardees.

The text of the messages of acceptance by Carlos (English) and Alicia Marentes (Spanish) at the 21st Annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Awards.

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