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Mayor to Present Freedom Award to Suzy Post

Monday January 13, 2014

Presentation during King “Keepers of the Dream” performance Jan.19

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that long-time social justice advocate Suzy Post is the 2014 recipient of Louisville Metro’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award. Post led the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union and local Human Relations Commission and is the last surviving plaintiff of the lawsuit that forced the city’s public schools to desegregate in the 1970s.

Fischer will present the award 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19 during the “Keepers of the Dream” community arts celebration dedicated to Dr. King at the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall, 501 W. Main St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Suzy Post epitomizes what a true citizen advocate can do to change a community and society,” Fischer said. “Her unwavering pursuit of justice and equality for people of all colors, gender and beliefs has truly helped push society forward and has made Louisville a more livable city for all of its citizens.”

“I am honored to be receiving this award in the shadows cast by the great Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela,” Post said. “In that spirit, I welcome the Mayor’s efforts to erase the boundary lines between the West End and the rest of our lovely city. I will be pleased if I can work with him to make us one whole community.”

Post began her social activism early, joining the NAACP after graduating from college and participating in demonstrations from the open housing movement of the 1960s to the school desegregation effort. In 1968, she was elected president of what is now the ACLU of Kentucky and convened the first statewide women’s conference in Kentucky’s history. Serving on the board of the national ACLU in the 70s, she helped make women’s rights the organizations top priority.

While leading the state ACLU chapter, Post worked to ensure that Jefferson County’s school desegregation was being implemented according to the judge’s ruling. She also created the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Pro Choice Project which advocated for women’s reproductive rights.

In 1989, she became the founding director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition – an advocacy group for affordable housing – which she led until 2002. Despite “retiring” in 2006, her voice and activism remain strong as she volunteers for social justice projects and organizations throughout the area.

Norton Healthcare is the presenting sponsor of the Freedom Award. This year’s award is a blown glass design created by Ché Rhodes, associate professor, Head of Glass, University of Louisville Hite Art Institute.

“We at Norton Healthcare are honored to be associated with this unique community celebration that recognizes the vision and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Sandra E. Brooks, MD, MBA, system vice president, Research and Prevention, Norton Healthcare. “We also salute this year’s Freedom Award winner, Suzy Post, as a courageous trailblazer for human rights who is truly deserving of this recognition.”

The Freedom Award, first presented in 1987, recognizes citizens that have dedicated their lives to promoting justice, peace, freedom, non-violence, racial equality and civic activism. Previous winners include Ishmon Burks, State Rep. Darryl Owens, Charlie Johnson, Merv Aubespin, Dr. Bernard Minnis, Ben Richmond, Raoul Cunningham, Georgia Davis Powers, Ed Hamilton, Lyman T. Johnson, Beverly Watts, Sam Watkins and Deborah Todd.

The Jan. 19 concert and community arts celebration is presented by the Kentucky Center ArtsReach Program in collaboration with Louisville Metro Government and the River City Drum Corp. The event, hosted by Kenneth Woods AKA Kenny Fresh, will feature presentations by ArtsReach Dance Studio, Toni Michelle Wheeler, “We Have a Dream” presentation with Dana Fisher, O’Dell Henderson, Shawne Glenn and River City Drum Corp, The HUMANITY PASSPORT PROJECT Greater Community Choir, Natya Kendra Dance Academy, ArtsReach Violin Studio with K.J. Wilson, ArtsReach Dance Ensemble, and John Allen of Uspiritus.

A pre-performance in the Kentucky Center lobby from 4-4:45 will feature a Brass Quartet featuring members of the Commonwealth Brass Band – David Campisano and Dana Fischer, cornet; Mildred Kemp, trombone and Russell Shartzer, tuba. Following the main program, Norton Healthcare will host a reception in the center’s East Room featuring music by the River City Drum Corp.