In 2013, human rights organizations joined together to inspire and educate about human rights in Tennessee.
While it is true that in 2012 the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations released a report which showed Davidson, Shelby, Knox and Coffee Counties among the highest ranked in regard to the number of human trafficking victims, with about 4,000 victims statewide, Tennessee has also made advances for the state of human rights.
This was the 50th anniversary of the Metro Nashville government as well as state and local agencies concerned with human rights. With that came many celebrations and events to broaden awareness and make human rights more known.
Recognizing the global need for human rights education, Tennessee human rights agencies decided to end the year with an event recognizing those leaders who’ve brought us through tough times and those who are shining a bright light into the future.
The Church of Scientology joined with local and state government as well as non-profit organizations spanning the state to plan the Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day, which occurs every year on December 10th. The celebration was held in the Howard School Building, a government facility in Nashville, Tennessee.
Three lifetime advocates received awards for their work, including the Rev. James "Tex" Thomas, pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church; Elliot Ozment, the founder and managing attorney at Ozment Law; and Carrie Gentry, who was active during the civil rights movement in Nashville.
“Rising Advocate” awards were given to individuals showing great promise in the field of human rights. This year, recipients included Gatluak Thach with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment and Stephanie Teatro with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
Rev. Brian Fesler who chaired the event planning committee said, “Our goal is to inspire more people to fight for human rights. We want people to know they, too, can achieve great things. That is what these awards represent.”
For more information, visit nashvillehumanrights.org.