Santa Fe, NM-- Lannan Foundation announced that it has recognized five human rights advocates with Cultural Freedom Awards for 2008. Recipients of the awards represent the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
The purpose of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award is to recognize individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity. As defined by the Foundation, Cultural Freedom is a basic human right dependent on political, economic, and environmental justice.
A total of $750,000 has been awarded for these individuals' work towards environmental justice, stopping violence against women and children, border justice, Native American cultural preservation and revitalization, and prisoners' rights.
Those recognized are: Bradley Angel, an environmental justice activist working to stop toxic polluters that target low-income communities; Esther Chávez Cano, founder of a violence prevention and treatment shelter protecting women and children in the Juarez region in Mexico; Isabel Garcia, a public defender who works on behalf of immigrants in the American Southwest; Malcolm Margolin, a book publisher who helps advance the cultural rights of American Indians indigenous to the state of California; and Clive Stafford Smith, a legal defender who represents Guantanamo detainees and prisoners on death row in the United States and around the world.
According to Foundation President Patrick Lannan, "All of the individuals honored this year have tirelessly committed themselves to improving and protecting the lives of the most politically and economically marginalized segments of society, oftentimes making personal sacrifices and sometimes risking their own safety for the well-being of others. We are honored to recognize these five heroes as shining examples in the fight for cultural freedom."
Malcolm Margolin is the founder of Heyday Books, established in 1974. The mission of Heyday Books is to deepen people's appreciation and understanding of California's cultural, natural, historic, literary, and artistic resources. In the last thirty-five years, the press has evolved from a one-person operation to a nonprofit cultural organization that publishes twenty-five books and sponsors more than 200 events a year. In 2007, seven books published by Heyday were traveling the state in the form of museum shows, and PBS produced three films based on books published by Heyday.
Mr. Margolin's vision has led the press to be especially active in publishing works by and about the California Indian community. Over the years Heyday has published more than thirty books on California Indians and since 1987 has been distributing News from Native California, a quarterly magazine devoted to California Indian culture and history. Many of the existing tribes indigenous to the state of California were nearly wiped out, due to disease, enslavement, and institutionalized genocide. Today, while a number of traditional cultural practices and Native languages are on the brink of extinction, News from Native California has been a strong force in helping to spark a revitalization of California Indian languages and cultures, a renaissance currently taking place in many Native communities throughout the state. In the role of publisher, Mr. Margolin has had the privilege of witnessing and supporting widespread cultural revival efforts in language, dance, basketweaving, storytelling, religious practice, and other areas of life. The press has served as a vehicle of communication among diverse people and various organizations, and networks were created as an indirect result of their efforts.
Mr. Margolin is the author of four books, the best known of them being The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco - Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 100 most important books written by a westerner in the twentieth century.
Mr. Margolin was born in Boston in 1940, grew up there, and graduated from Harvard College in 1964. He has lived in Berkeley, California, since arriving there in a VW bus in the late 1960's.