Amnesty International is honoring seven individuals in its first Enduring Spirit Awards in recognition of personal commitments to helping others secure fair, equal and secure treatment around the world. This year’s honorees are: Ellen Degeneres, Martin Sheen, Rhino Records co-founder and President Richard Foos, California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Degeneres’ former lover Anne Heche, teenager Anthony Colin and Digna Ochoa y Placido.
Anthony Colin was a 10th grader at Orange County, Calif.’s El Modena High School when school officials dismissed his proposal to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club to foster respect among gay and heterosexual students. The Orange Unified School District voted not to allow the formation of the club, but Colin and his supporters fought, and a federal district judge in February ordered the school district to permit the club, which has been meeting since then.
Digna Ochoa y Placido is a human rights attorney in Mexico City who continues her work despite repeated death threats and violent attacks against her. She remains a tireless advocate for human rights in Mexico.
"Amnesty International created the Enduring Spirit Awards to honor, celebrate and encourage the contributions of entertainment industry leaders, human rights defenders and other leaders from diverse walks of life," said William F. Schulz, executive director for the human rights organization.
The Enduring Spirit Awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sept. 16.