Monday, September 26, 2011
ACLU of New Mexico Announces Award Recipients
Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is pleased to announce the recipients of the organization’s annual awards. Each year, the ACLU of New Mexico honors an attorney and an activist for their outstanding civil liberties work in the State of New Mexico. The awards will be presented as part of the 49th annual Bill of Rights Celebration on Saturday, October 22, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
The 2011 Cooperating Attorney Award goes to Mark D. Fine of the Fine Law Firm for his work defending the rights of female inmates in the New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility (NMWCF) in Grants, NM. Fine currently represents three women who allege that a male employee sexually assaulted them while they were inmates. The suit also seeks to hold NMWCF accountable for retaliation against the victims after they reported the incidents.
The 2011 Guardian of Liberty Award goes to two people this year, James Walker and Steven De Los Santos, both recently graduated from Clovis High School. Despite resistance from the community and deliberate obstruction by the Clovis school board, Walker and De Los Santos successfully established the school’s first-ever Gay-Straight Alliance.
Students had attempted several times in the past to establish the club, whose mission is to promote tolerance, reduce bullying and encourage dialogue, but were continually rebuffed by the administration. Because of their courageous and determined stand, Walker and De Los Santos leave as their legacy a safe, supportive place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students at Clovis High.
Walker is currently a freshman at the University of New Mexico and De Los Santos is studying at New Mexico State University.
The Bill of Rights Celebration and awards ceremony are open to the public. Tickets are available online at aclu-nm.org. The event will take place at Salón Ortega at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM.