The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice is given each year to honor those who speak or act for the disenfranchised. In recognizing them, we publicly acknowledge the powerful significance and practical consequence of their work and join them in fostering tolerance, empathy and reconciliation within our community. They embody the integrity and courage of those who dared to support the men and women jailed or executed as witches in 1692.
By studying the Salem Witch Trials, we learn that order was restored to the Salem community by the outspoken protests of a few good citizens who spoke bravely and acted courageously in opposition to the prevailing chaos. They risked their lives to speak against the oppression of the trials and to call for order and reconciliation. Today, we continue to live in a world dependent on men and women who will not be silenced by fear and social disorder.
The individual and/or organization to whom the Salem Award is given must demonstrate:
- A commitment through their work to human rights and social justice issues, particularly within the two years preceding their nomination;
- Courage in the face of bigotry and intolerance; and,
- That their efforts further the cause of human rights and social justice for an individual or group of individuals.
The Foundation usually selects the recipient in the fall and presents the award each spring at a ceremony open to the public.