On their annual Bill of Rights Dinner, the ACLU of Southern California honored Christine Blasey Ford with the Roger Baldwin Courage Award.
Her attendance at the gala was not disclosed to the guests and media. Her appearance prompted a standing ovation. Since her testimony before Congress in regards to her allegations of sexual harassment to the former Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Ford has lived relatively low-key.sponsor
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In an article by the Hollywood Reporter, Ford told the audience "When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen, providing information to the Senate that I believed would be relevant to the Supreme Court nomination process. I thought anyone in my position, of course, would do the same thing."
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Ford cited Anita Hill's experience, when Hill testified similar allegations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Now, Ford is inspired by the works of ACLU. She applauds the people behind who work for the organization. She addressed them, saying "My voice was just one voice. You are many. We are many."
She then mingled with other guests, one of which was songwriter Diane Warren. After posing for a photo and a few words, Warren told the publication that Ford was "A real rock star in the room. Loo what she's done. What a brave woman."
"I'm Standing With You", a famous song by Warren, was sung by Chrissy Metz. This is the third time that the ACLU of Southern California used one of her songs for the annual ceremony. Warren said "I think all of those songs really embody what ACLU is. No one stands up for us or stands with us or fights for us like the ACLU."
Another outstanding media personality who was honored at the ceremony was actress and author Judy Balaban. She had served on the ACLU SoCal board for more than 40 years. Other honorees were songwriter Justin Tranter and actor Don Cheadle.
Tranter's award was presented by singer Selena Gomez. In the report, Tranter was said to have come from a politically aware family who used their platform to promote social justice and address civil rights issues. During the speech, Tranter urged the audience to remember to be joyful despite being in the face of adversity.
In their speech, Tranter said "I believe that in these very dark times, in these divisive times, that simply being joyful is an act of resistance. As a queer, gender nonconforming person, waking up to this administration attacking my community and many other marginalized communities at every turn has not made the last few years easy. They can try to take my rights, but they can't take my f****** joy."
Cheadle reminds the audience that to be realistic and aspirational are not mutually exclusive. In his speech, the actor told them how he used to change the words of the Pledge of Allegiance from "with liberty and justice for all" to "with liberty and justice for some." At a young age, Cheadle was aware of the injustices taking place in the country, a thought that echoed in his speech.
"When I shared with my father my version of the Pledge of Allegiance, he nodded. He was understanding. Then, he quietly said,'You know, sometimes you express what you hope for the world, rather than what it is. Speak for what you will work for.'When you have that opportunity [to give a voice for those who don't have one] I feel that it is incumbent upon you to not just fritter it away or use it to get in clubs or get free s***. You want to actually use it to promote causes that you believe in and to try to bring attention to the things that are important to the world."
A poem entitled "Dear America" was written and performed by student activist Jose Bello. A medley of Tranter's songs was performed by singer Yde.