WASHINGTON, May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presented the 2016 Elie Wiesel Award, the institution's highest honor, to United States Representative John Lewis, of Georgia at the Museum's National Tribute Dinner on Wednesday, May 4.
Lewis, the only surviving "Big Six" leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was recognized for his extraordinary moral and physical courage during those defining moments and his lifelong commitment to promoting the human dignity of all people.
"At a pivotal moment in our history, Representative Lewis took great personal risks to help our society reaffirm its commitment to freedom and justice for all," says Museum Chairman Tom A. Bernstein. "Like our previous honorees, he is an inspiration to people of conscience the world over."
As a university student, Lewis organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, participated in Freedom Rides, and led the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday." Though he was arrested more than 40 times in nonviolent protests and endured physical brutality, he never abandoned his commitment to building "the Beloved Community" in America. Lewis, the son of sharecroppers, has served for three decades in the United States Congress, where he is widely respected for his integrity and moral courage.
Susannah Heschel, chair of the Jewish Studies program at Dartmouth College whose father Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel worked closely and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, presented the award to Rep. Lewis.
Established in 2011, the Elie Wiesel Award is named in honor of its inaugural recipient, Nobel Peace Laureate and Museum Founding Chairman Elie Wiesel. Engraved on the award are words from Wiesel's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, "One person of integrity can make a difference." The Museum presents the award to an internationally prominent individual whose actions have advanced the Museum's vision of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
The Museum's National Tribute Dinner was held on Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park as part of the Museum's annual Days of Remembrance observance when it leads the nation in remembering the victims of the Holocaust. The event chairs are Beth Heifetz and Jodi and Rodd Macklin. About 900 people, including 60 Holocaust survivors, attended the event.
The National Tribute Dinner supports the Museum's campaign, Never Again: What You Do Matters. The $540 million campaign will allow the Museum to make critical investments to keep Holocaust memory alive as a relevant force for change — inspiring people worldwide to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit ushmm.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-representative-john-lewis-receives-us-holocaust-memorial-museums-elie-wiesel-award-300263415.html
SOURCE United States Holocaust Memorial Museum