Washington, D.C. – On October 13, the Institute for Policy Studies will hold the 46th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards virtually and in-person in Washington, D.C.

IPS will honor the Amazon Labor Union and Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México (Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico). Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García, a Mexican immigrant and former union member, will present both awards.

Since 1976, IPS has hosted the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards to honor fallen colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were assassinated by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Each year, IPS recognizes domestic and international champions of human rights whose work exemplifies the spirit and legacy of Letelier and Moffitt.

In the past 10 months alone, two previous recipients of this award have been elected President of their countries, and a third is poised to win this month.  In 2012, we presented the award to the Chilean Student Movement and, in December of last year, Chileans elected a Movement leader, Gabriel Boric, as their new President. In June of this year, Colombians elected our 2007 winner, Gustavo Petro, as President of Colombia, the first progressive president in that country’s history. Lula, our 2003 winner, is the heavy favorite in the Brazilian presidential elections.

“I’m excited to honor this year’s recipients of the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards not only for advancing the cause of human rights, but for their historic contributions to the labor rights movement here in the U.S. and to the movement for justice for the disappeared in Mexico. Both of these organizations have demonstrated the incredible power of collective action by ordinary people fighting for better conditions for their communities,” said Tope Folarin, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies.

“The Amazon workers who are taking great risks to unionize are proud to receive this award,” said Amazon Labor Union Vice President Derrick Palmer. “When you take on a corporate giant with the financial power of Amazon, you need people power on your side. As we continue to fight for a fair contract in Staten Island and beyond, we look forward to this opportunity to strengthen the bonds of solidarity with more allies who can help us build this movement.”

“In Mexico more than 100,000 people have disappeared, mostly in the last 16 years. Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México was created out of the need to enact legislation on forced disappearances and for the government to recognize that the victims are not a number, but people with a name and a face. We, the families of the disappeared, are fighting so they are found, and there is truth and justice for everyone. We have coined the phrase ‘not without the families’ to reinforce the strength and power of our voice and our demands,” said Diana Iris, spokesperson for the Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México and mother of a disappeared person.

“When we rise up together, we can make our voices heard. That’s been a resounding message as ordinary people in Mexico and the United States have joined in solidarity to seek justice and defend their rights,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “Both Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México and the Amazon Labor Union exemplify the solidarity and courage that spur progressive change. As a Mexican immigrant and as a former member of several unions, I am proud to present the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award to these organizations.”

Domestic Awardee: Amazon Labor Union – Despite intimidation tactics by the world’s largest online retailer, workers at several Amazon warehouses have been bravely fighting for greater democracy in their workplace. In April of this year, the Amazon Labor Union became the first to win a union election at a U.S.-based Amazon facility. Through effective grassroots organizing, these Staten Island-based workers achieved a landmark victory, showing what is possible for workers attempting to organize and collectively bargain for fair treatment.

International Awardee: Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México – Since 2015, the Movimiento has helped families across Mexico search for truth and justice for their disappeared loved ones. Made up of over 80 groups from 24 Mexican states, the Movimiento has led extraordinary efforts to excavate mass graves across the country and pass the first piece of legislation in Mexico on the issue while facing drug cartels, corrupt officials, and an indifferent bureaucracy.

About the Awards Ceremony:

The 46th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards will be held in person on Thursday, October 13 at the Friends Meeting of Washington, DC located at 2111 Decatur Place NW. The event will start with a reception at 4:00 pm, followed by the awards ceremony at 5:00 pm. Following the ceremony, attendees will be invited to lay flowers at the Letelier-Moffitt monument at Sheridan Circle. Flowers will be provided.

To RSVP as press for this event and to speak with Tope Folarin, Amazon Labor Union, Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México, or Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García, contact IPS’s Media Manager, Olivia Alperstein at olivia@ips-dc.org or (202) 704-9011.



About the Institute for Policy Studies

For nearly six decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has provided critical research support for major social movements and progressive leaders inside and outside government and on the ground around the United States and the world. As the United States’ oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS turns bold ideas into action through public scholarship and mentorship of the next generation of progressive scholars and activists.

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