It’s springtime in the Bay Area, and we’re ramping up for our ninth annual Human Rights Awards Gala happening on June 1st at the historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco.

Ben & Jerry’s Co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield graced us with their presence at the gala last year, but this is the first year they will actually emcee the event, so those who attend are in for an extra sweet treat!

Since 2001, the Human Rights Awards Gala has brought together activists, supporters, and friends to recognize the efforts of exceptional individuals and organizations working for human rights from around the country and around the world.

This year on June 1, 2011, we honor the work of Gulf Coast Activist Wilma Subra (Domestic Honoree), International Honoree U.N. Ambassador for Bolivia Pablo Solón, and People’s Choice Honoree Javier Sicilia, a poet building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’

Ben Cohen and Yours Truly at our 2010 Human Rights Awards Gala

As you can probably tell from this picture on the left here, our awards gala was a great time last year, so if you’re in the Bay Area on June 1st, I hope you join us as we hear inspiring stories, dine, dance and celebrate along with Ben and Jerry, our Honorees, and your fellow social justice advocates.


To purchase tickets: Order online here (early bird rate ends on May 13th)

General event info: Visit the event website at

Global Exchange is pleased to announce the winner of our 2011 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Contest, Javier Sicilia, as chosen by THE PEOPLE, supporters of Global Exchange and human rights around the world.

Mr. Sicilia is a poet building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’ He will be honored at our annual Human Rights Awards Gala happening on June 1 at historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco.

Find out more about this exciting event.

Mr. Sicilia joins our other 2011 Human Rights Awards recipients, Pablo Solón, Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, and Wilma Subra, Gulf Coast activist. You can learn more about all of our human rights honorees past and present here.

Javier Sicilia is a Mexican father, poet, and citizen who lost his son in a drug war massacre on March 28, 2011. Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega was murdered along with six friends in an act of violence that Morelos state authorities immediately dismissed as “a settling of accounts.” Juan Francisco and his friends’ murders took place in the context of more than 38,000 mostly nameless victims of this cruel and unnecessary war.

Rather than retreat to the shadows of shock or fear, Sicilia has turned the pain of his searing loss into a tool for peace by convening marches and building a movement to free Mexico from the dogmas, dark alliances, impunity, and political expediency that fuel this tragic war.

I could go on and on about what an awesome, courageous, inspiring man Javier Sicilia is, but instead just watch this video:

More than 1200 people elected Javier Sicilia to be the Global Exchange “People’s Choice” human rights award winner. As the People’s Choice honoree, he will receive $1,000 in honor of his work and will be recognized during the Human Rights Awards gala celebration.


Join Mexico’s growing peace movement that has called for a massive civic mobilization this Sunday, May 8th. The main event will take place in Mexico’s Zocalo and will be echoed by marches and vigils in many countries. More info here.


If you’ll be in the Bay Area on June 1st, I hope to see you at our Human Rights Awards gala for a night of inspiration, celebration and fun! For event info click here and to buy tickets for the event click here (by May 13th if you want to score the Early Bird discount!)

P.S. Two of my personal heroes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (founders of Ben & Jerry’s) are emceeing the event. How awesome is that?!

Global Exchange staff showing off their evening looks

Global Exchange started the Human Rights Awards in 2001 to recognize and elevate the contributions of individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace, justice and the inalienable rights we call “human rights”—here in the United States and around the world.

This years’ honorees, Van Jones, Raúl del Águila from Peru, and our People’s Choice Honoree Mu Sochua exemplify and embody this spirit, and we’re proud to have honored them at the 2010 Human Rights Awards gala on Thursday, May 27th at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, CA.

It was an inspiring evening shared by incredible human rights advocates.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield speaking about Fair Trade while attendees enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream

We enjoyed the company of Ben and Jerry – who talked about their commitment to go 100% Fair Trade by 2013, while feasting on delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dessert.

All proceeds from the event go to support the important work of Global Exchange.  We are grateful to all of our sponsors and participants for their support.

If you weren’t able to make it this year, we hope you will join us in 2011.  Dates and details to come.

Check out some highlights from this years’ gala event! (click photo to enlarge)

Green Leaders Van Jones (2010 Human Rights Award Domestic Honoree) and Kevin Danaher (Global Exchange, Green Festivals) chat it up

Code Pink Alert!

Medea Benjamin, Pierre Labossiere and Van Jones smile for the camera

2010 Human Rights Award International Honoree Raúl del Águila accompanied by his wife

Guests dining it up!

Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange) with Jeff Furman (Ben & Jerry’s)

Nhu Miller with Devi Leiper, daughter of People’s Choice Award winner Mu Sochua

Global Stewards Saori and Mike Kappus with Medea Benjamin

Ben Cohen with Global Steward Jodie Evans of CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Global Exchangers and guest mingle

Fair Trade models sporting their “Ask Me About My Outfit” sashes

Gala attendees sharing a smile

Global Exchange’s Andrea Hightower with Domestic Honoree Van “I don’t take a bad picture” Jones