CHICAGO — More than 900 supporters of human rights and civil liberties will gather in Chicago on Friday, April 17th to honor a long-time champion of basic rights. Barbara Flynn Currie, the first woman ever to serve as the Majority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives, will be honored at the event with the Roger Baldwin Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition for her contributions throughout nearly three decades in the General Assembly. The event will be held at the Hilton Chicago, located at 720 South Michigan Avenue, beginning at 12:00 noon. The program concludes by 1:30 p.m.
"Barbara Flynn Currie is a true champion of civil liberties in our state," said Colleen K. Connell, executive director for the ACLU of Illinois. "This award recognizes her amazing, courageous work — from working to win the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples, her leadership on issues to make our criminal justice system more sane and more fair, her strong support for women's ability to make their own medical decisions — including reproductive health care decisions — and her efforts to end the discredited death penalty in Illinois."
Majority Leader Currie represents the 25th legislative district in Hyde Park, a position she has held since her first election in 1978. Among her many accomplishments, Representative Currie is remembered for having sponsored the first Illinois Freedom of Information Act. This reflects a small part of her efforts to create more transparency in government.
The keynote speaker for the event will be journalist Matt Taibbi. A regular contributor to Rolling Stone, Taibbi is the author of New York Times bestseller The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. The book explores what Taibbi describes as both sides of our new system of justicethe untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor.
"Given our current work on stop and frisk in Chicago and our efforts to fight mass incarceration in Illinois, we are thrilled to have Matt Taibbi here to share his insights with us," added the ACLU's Connell.
"Our members and supporters will benefit from his insights."