We were most happy to hear that the ethecon foundation plans to bestow its International Blue Planet Award 2011 on Angela Davis. We applaud this decision in great solidarity and wish to be among the first to congratulate you. This is fitting, as our organization honoured Angela Davis with its own human rights award in 2004 in Berlin.
Many of our members recall demonstrating their solidarity with the imprisoned civil rights activist Angela Davis by sending her roses and letters as part of a world-wide campaign for her release. In 1972, Angela Davis was saved from the death sentence and released from prison after a successful worldwide protest movement against her unjustifiable imprisonment. Today she works as a professor of sociology and political science at the University of Santa Cruz.
We honoured her for her political and academic work in the fight for civil and human rights. She is a socially committed scholar and a highly respected representative and organizer in the women‚s rights, anti-racism, anti-war and anti-death-penalty movements. Her name has a special ring to it and an aura that defies changing times. This is not only because our joint cause to promote humaneness, to fight against war and poverty, to fight for gender and racial equality, against political prosecution, misuse of the justice system and occupational bans has been successful in the past decades and therefore let us find the names of those responsible for the victories on monuments to humaneness throughout the world. No, possibly for the very reason that there remains so much to do, because history brings us not only advances, but setbacks as well, because there are and always were so few like her, because failures make success more important and urgent, and because dangers to mankind and the fate of the earth are not decreasing, but increasing. History has sent us on the path again.
Angela Davis‘ goals have remained relevant during all the years of her dedicated involvement and they are as urgent today as ever. Today as well as throughout the past, the hope remains that it has been ultimately possible to free her from her dungeon, that powerful world-wide movements against the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, against imperialistic globalization, growing poverty, racism, unequal treatment of women, misuse of the justice system and the death penalty can still lead to success, if all of us, if millions tenaciously follow these goals without letting ourselves become discouraged. When Angela Davis left prison over 30 years ago, she gave a very moving speech, in which she said that her release from prison was not her own victory, but a victory of the people. “What we are really celebrating, sisters and brothers, is our ability to deal the rulers of this nation a powerful and unmistakable defeat.” And she gave the great assignment to start a movement “that is strong enough to dethrone the entire ruling class. ... As long as I know that millions of people are behind me, I´m convinced we´ll win.” At that time there were hundreds of millions of people and today we again need hundreds of millions willing to follow these goals with renewed urgency. As another awardee of the GBM human rights prize, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, once said, today our only chance to fight imperialistic globalization is in the globalization of our own resistance.
Angela Davis has never stopped taking part in political activities and movements within and outside the USA. She has never stopped making that movement which once freed her from prison her own cause: international solidarity with political prisoners and all those who suffer under arbitrary prison conditions and torture throughout the world. Acting on this commitment in the Paris City Hall in 2003, she accepted, as a representative of the US campaign against the death penalty, the parchment and medal documenting Mumia Abu-Jamal's honorary citizenship in his name.
Solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners in the US, with the five imprisoned Cubans who wanted nothing else than to protect their country from terrorism, as well as the fight against the death penalty throughout the world are also goals of our “Gesellschaft zum Schutz von Bürgerrecht und Menschenwürde”. Threats to civil rights by new dictatorships and neo-fascist movements admonish us to keep up our efforts to create a new and more just world. Angela Davis is a model for us to follow in the American and international civil and human rights movement.
It is a credit to your foundation ethecon that A. Davis has again been honoured with an award. With this prize you remind us all that we have a never-ending responsibility for the billions of people who simply wish to live in peace, without social hardship, in equality and freedom, and who place their hope and trust in people like Angela Davis.