Who Is Your Hero?

Salem Award Nominations Are Open!

You may or may not recognize all the names and faces above, but there are countless people doing important, and often unheralded, work under the human rights and social justice umbrella.

Many are committed and working in their own way on behalf of others. Twenty-two of them have received the Salem Award, including Dr. Jonathan Shay, Jane Elliott, and this year’s winners, Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph.

Now is the time to ask: Who is your hero? Whom do you know (or know of) who deserves the Salem Award? The SAF welcomes nominations from anyone. Who is a good candidate? Any person or organization whose work is aligned with our mission:

To keep alive the lessons of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and to make known and honor the heroic work of those who speak out and take action to alleviate discrimination, promote tolerance, and achieve justice for contemporary victims of social injustice.

They may be working both here and in their homeland for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan like 2004 recipient Fahima Vorgetts. Or perhaps they founded an organization that pursues equal opportunities for minorities and the poor like 1993 recipient Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Who will be honored next? It is up to you. It could be playwright/author Larry Kramer, or another unsung champion of human rights living among us. 

Send us your nominations by September 15, 2014. 

The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice is awarded annually to an individual or organization that meets criteria established by the Salem Award Foundation.

Please see our Nominations Page for complete details.


New Flyer Answers Visitors' Question:

"Where are the sites connected with
the Witch Trials?"

People come to Salem because of the witch trials, but until now there has been nothing to guide them to related sites. To address this need, the SAF spearheaded the creation of a new flyer, "A Visitors Guide to 1692."
The flyer features photos and information for 10 sites in Salem and Danvers, including the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, The House of Seven Gables, historic cemeteries of Salem, The Salem Witch Trials Memorial, the National Park Service Visitor Center, the Salem Witch Museum, Cinema Salem, Old Town Hall, the Witch Dungeon Museum, and the Witch House. These various sites offer a combination of tours of original historical buildings, burial sites, movies, exhibits, and a theater production. The flyer provides a description of the site, hours, admission fees, addresses and contact information.
Flyers may be picked up at the majority of the sites as well as visitor centers, Destination Salem, the Chamber of Commerce, local hotels and B&Bs.
Funding for this effort was provided in part by a grant from the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Center and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

Salem Teens presented with
Student Social Justice Award

On May 19th, at the School Committee meeting, two Salem teens received an award from the Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice. Kathleen Curtis, Education co-chair of the SAF, presented the "Student Award," including copies of the book Speak Truth to Power and checks for $100 to Chase Duffin, a high school senior at Salem High School and Edwina Shackleton, who will graduate from Salem Academy Charter School next month. Mayor Kimberley Driscoll was on hand to congratulate the students and talk about the important work of the SAF. 

22nd Annual Salem Award Honors

Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph

for their efforts to restore democracy, justice, and human rights to Haiti

Photos by John Andrews              

Before a capacity crowd in the Hawthorne Hotel Ballroom, Mayor Kim Driscoll, Salem State University President Patricia Maguire Meservey, and Salem Award Chairwoman Julie Rose presented Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph each with a framed photograph of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and a $7,500 check.

Concannon and Joseph, founders of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, received the 2014 Salem Award for their work to combine traditional legal strategies with the empowerment of victims’ organizations and political advocacy. There is almost no area in which they are not actively working with the people of Haiti in their non-violent struggle for the consolidation of constitutional democracy, justice and human rights.

The award has been given each year to a modern-day champion of human rights who refused to stay silent in the face of injustice, symbolizing the lessons and tragedies of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. This is the first time that we have given the award to two individuals representing two separate causes since our inception in 1992. According to Mayor Driscoll, “The Salem Award is always a highlight of the year for me because it says that Salem has learned a vital lesson from the witch trials.” 

Learn more in The Salem News article.

2014 Salem Award Winner featured

in The Boston Globe

Yesterday the work of Brian Concannon, head of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Boston, was featured in a Boston Globe article depicting his work on behalf of the poor in Haiti. Concannon, along with Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti, will receive the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice on March 23rd in Salem. Read the article.

R.D. Sahl and expert panel discussed the nature of bullying at Salem State University

R.D. Sahl moderated an expert panel including representatives from: Anti-Defamation League, BAGLY, D.A.’s office, Daughters of Abraham, HAWC, Social Psychology of Bullying, as well as a victim of a hate crime.

The symposium, "Taking Action Against Intimidation: A forum on abuse of power, bullying, and what we can do about it" was sponsored by Salem State University, Center for Holocaust Studies, Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice, and Salem No Place for Hate Committee.

Taking Action Against Intimidation

Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Salem State University

More photos

The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice is given each year to keep alive the lessons of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and to recognize those who are speaking out and taking action to alleviate discrimination and promote tolerance.

In recognizing and honoring them, we publicly acknowledge the powerful significance and practical consequence of their work and join them in fostering acceptance, compassion and reconciliation. The Salem Award Foundation also sponsors lectures, panel discussions and other programs on topics related to promoting human rights and social justice, and supports the public Salem Witch Trials Memorial. 

Thanks to all who made the rededication possible!

The restoration of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial

would not have been possible without the
support and teamwork of the following:

The City of Salem  •  The Peabody Essex Museum  •  Eastern Bank  • 
Beverly Cooperative Bank  •  The Salem Witch Museum  • 
The Heritage Salem Five Charitable Foundation  • 
And many businesses and residents of Salem and surrounding communities!

Support the Salem Award and the maintenance of the

Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

The Salem Award was established in 1992 as part of the activities marking the tercentenary of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The first award was given to GregAlan Williams, hero of the South Los Angeles riots, at the dedication of the then new Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

The memorial has welcomed more than 6 million visitors since 1992, and by 2012 it was in serious need of restoration. This important work has been completed, and the beautiful, award-winning public monument is now ready to welcome even more visitors in the future.