Salem Award

Each year we recognize and honor an individual or organization that is speaking out and taking action to confront discrimination, promote tolerance and help victims of social injustice. In recognizing them we publicly acknowledge the powerful significance and the practical consequence of their work and join them in raising voices to foster tolerance, understanding and reconciliation within the communities we serve. They embody the integrity and courage of those who dared to support the women and men jailed and executed as witches in 1692.

The recipient of the 2020 Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice is the Massachusetts Bail Fund for their work towards ending the injustices of pre-trial detention here in Massachusetts and across the country.

To be considered for the Salem Award, individuals or organizations must demonstrate:

  • A commitment, through their work, to raising voices and confronting human rights and social injustice
  • Courage in the face of bigotry and intolerance
  • Efforts that advance the cause of human rights and social justice

Voices Against Injustice usually selects the Salem Award recipient in the fall and presents the award each spring in a ceremony open to the public.

Past Recipients

2019 - Ana Maria Archila, for speaking out for victims of sexual assault, and for work with Center for Popular Democracy
2017/2018 - The GroundTruth Project and its founder Charles M. Sennott
2016 Anne Driscoll - For her ground-breaking contributions in overturning wrongful convictions
2015 Jose Antonio Vargas - For his tireless advocacy for immigration rights
2014 Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph - Restoring democracy, justice, and human rights to Haiti
2012-13 Thomas Doyle and Horace Seldon - Seventy years of commitment to human rights
2011 City Life/Vida Urbana - For fighting social and economic injustice
2010 Dr. Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D. - For his work on the causes, treatment and acceptance of post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and veterans
2009 Greg Mortenson - Co-founder and Executive Director, Central Asia Institute
2008 Coalition of Immokalee Workers - For its work to end slavery in the U.S. agricultural industry
2007 Eric Reeves - Champion for human rights and peace in Sudan
2006 Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift and Professor Neal Katyal - Lead co-counsels, Supreme Court Case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
2005 Paula Donovan - Senior Advisor, Office of the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa
2004 Fahima Vorgetts - Director, Afghan Women’s Fund
2003 Jane Elliott - Educator and diversity trainer
2002 James C. McCloskey - Founder and Executive Director Centurion Ministries, Inc.
2001 Robert W. Raiche - Founder and Chairman Friends Forever
2000 Jane Schaller, M.D. - Founder of Physicians for Human Rights 
1999 Leonard P. Zakim - Executive Director of the New England Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League
1998 Barbara Vogel - Developed the S.T.O.P. campaign to raise awareness about ongoing slavery
1997 Vicky Guzman, M.D. - Founder and Director of ASAPROSAR (Salvadoran Association for Rural Health
1996 Aaron Feuerstein - Third Generation Owner and CEO of Malden Mills
1995 Harry Wu - Founder of the Laogai Research Foundation
1994 William Johnston - Former Boston Police officer; works with Facing History and Ourslves, an educational program about bias and oppression
1993 Morris Dees - Co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center
1992 Gregory Alan Williams - Hero of the 1992 Los Angeles race riots and first recipient of the Salem Award