Western North Carolina Chapter 2021 Annual Celebration

June 26, 2021 @ 3:00 pm

On Saturday, June 26 at 3:00 p.m. the ACLU of NC’s Western NC Chapter, will hold its annual public celebration. The event will feature the presentation of the Evan Mahaney Champion of Civil Liberties Award to BeLoved Asheville, whose mission is to support human rights for the people of our mountain home, particularly BIPOC communities and/or people who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness.

This event is FREE and open to the public and will be held at the Land of the Sky United Church of Christ, located at 15 Overlook Pl., Asheville 28805.  Refreshments will be served. For further information contact: Sam Katz at bookingshows@gmail.com.

RSVPs are appreciated but not required

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About the Evan Mahaney Champion of Civil Liberties Award

This Champion of Civil Liberties Award was first presented in 2003 to its namesake, Evan R. Mahaney, longtime journalist and civil libertarian instrumental in the rejuvenation of the WNC Chapter of the ACLU/NC in the 1990s. Other past recipients include: Women in Black peace witnesses (2004); Global Report journalism (2005); Rev. Howard Hangar, Rev. Joe Hoffman, Rev. Mark Ward, marriage equality for same-gender/same-sex partners (2006); Deborah Miles, Center for Diversity Education (2007); Frank Goldsmith, Jessica Leaven, Pamela Loughon, Lenora Topp, legal team that freed Glen Edward Chapman (2008); Karen VanEman, African-American Oral History (2009); Bob Smith, Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council (2010); Lotte Myerson, (2011); Defensa Communitaria, Latino community advocates (2012); Jim Cavener (2013); Drew Reisinger, Buncombe County Register of Deeds and the Campaign for Southern Equality (2014); Building Bridges of Asheville (2015); Isaac Coleman (2016, posthumous); Women’s March on Asheville (2017); Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective (a social Change theatre troupe) in 2018 and to Tyrone Greenlee in 2019. 

About our Evan Mahaney Champion of Civil Liberties Award Winner:  Beloved Asheville

BeLoved Asheville works to embody justice and liberation through on-the-ground organizing in the community. They bring people from all walks of life to create innovative solutions to some of the toughest challenges that our city, region, and world face: racism and systemic inequities, housing and food insecurity, poverty, poor health, and inequities in healthcare. They work to create home, health, equity, and opportunity for all in our community.   
Among BeLoved's accomplishments are beginning a state-wide campaign for issuing driver's licenses for all to include our Latinx community, winning a campaign for early release of Buncombe County inmates with non-violent offenses at the onset of Covid-19, advocated to halt evictions and water shut-off during the pandemic, led a food and Know-Your-Rights distribution operation during the last major ICE raids in WNC, advocated for an end to police brutality and for moving funding away from policing to the community, began in 2016 to call for the removal of the Vance Monument and for reparations for centuries of unjust local and national policies.  BeLoved has worked toward the opening of the Civic Center for temporary housing during the Pandemic, successfully advocated against camp evictions, and won housing alternatives for those evicted from city parks. BeLoved has led actions at the Federal Building, the Governor's Western Residence, and the state Legislative Building for Immigration Reform, opposition to House Bill 2, stopping Federal cuts in housing and food stamps, and health care for all. 

Along with advocation, BeLoved has created innovative responses like the homeless Street Medic Team, a new model of affordable homes, racial equity & healing, and rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic doing prevention, education, recovery work including hundreds vaccinated at campsites, places of essential work, mobile home communities, public parks, and over 3 million pounds of food delivered to impacted neighborhoods, over 100,000 diapers distributed to families and tens of thousands of masks and PPE items shared. And this is only a partial listing of BeLoved's good works.

Prospective new board members, 2021

Tonya E. Carroll
Sarah Judson
Ashley Moraguez

Thank you to our 2020-2021 Chapter Board!

Bruce Elmore (President)
Geri Soloman (Vice President)
Gene Zimbalkin (Secretary)
Fernando Promar (Treasurer)
Sam Katz (Immediate Past President)
Alex Cury (Chapter Rep to State Affiliate Board)
Wilhelmina Bratton
Jim Cavener
Curry First
Frank Goldsmith
Grace Long
Jim Null

The board of the ACLU-NC/Western NC Chapter is happy to have you join us in saluting the 2020 – 2021 year of civil liberties advocacy.  Highlights include last fall’s “Know Your Voting Rights Panel Discussion; and a program on “The Use of Torture and Race: North Carolina’s Role”. The program made the connection between the U.S. government’s torture of Muslims in places like Guantànamo Bay and CIA “black sites”, and abusive conditions in North Carolina’s prison system, which disproportionately impacts Black Americans.



3:00 pm
Welcome and introductions by WNC Chapter President Bruce Elmore
3:07 pm
Introduction to National ACLU and Report on North Carolina Affiliate | Kristie Puckett-Williams, ACLU-NC Staff from Charlotte, NC
3:15 pm
Presentation of Evan Mahaney Champion of Civil Liberties Award to BeLoved Asheville, by Chapter Vice President, Geri Solomon
3:20 pm
Guest Speakers from BeLoved Asheville: Adrienne Sigmon, Pronkho Bermeyjo, Carmen Ramos-Kennedy, and Amy Cantrell -- all Co-Directors
3:50 pm
Proposals for New Chapter Board Members: Tonya E. Carroll, Sarah Judson, and Ashley Moraguez, and Re-Election of returning board members by Nominating Committee Chair, Gene Zimbalkin.
4:00 pm
Concluding Remarks by Chapter President, Bruce Elmore
4:05 pm
Refreshments and Social Period