Joan Baez to Receive Amnesty International’s 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award
Joan Baez will be one of two recipients of Amnesty International’s 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award. She -- along with fellow recipient, artist Ai Weiwei -- will be presented the award at the May 21 ceremony in Berlin, which will feature Patti Smith as one of the speakers.
Amnesty International broke the news today (March 24), with the organization’s Secretary General Salil Shetty noting the award is a “celebration of those unique individuals who have used their talents to inspire many, many others to take injustice personally.” He went on to call both Baez and Weiwei “an inspiration to thousands more human rights activists.”
“With her mesmerizing voice and unwavering commitment to peaceful protest and human rights for all, Joan Baez has been a formidable force for good over more than five decades,” Shetty added.
The announcement arrives during the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches, where Baez performed “Stars for Freedom.” The iconic folk singer-songwriter has also advocated for the rights of California migrant farm workers and the LGBT community, while protesting the death penalty, torture and human rights violations in Vietnam.
“Amnesty International attracted me because of its founding principle that all human rights abuses and the suffering they create are unacceptable,” Baez said after learning of the honor. “The process of eliminating those abuses, even one step at a time, has created a compassionate, non-partisan, powerfully effective movement. I’m lucky to be a part of it and proud to be honored with this award.”