2020 ACLU-MN Virtual Liberty Awards

July 16, 2020 @ 4:30 pm

UPDATE, June 1, 2020: The ACLU of Minnesota has postponed the 2020 Liberty Awards to give all of us and our communities time to grieve the brutal murder of George Floyd and to work for justice in his name.

We will honor several heroes who have worked to protect and advance civil liberties throughout Minnesota on July 16 at 4:30 p.m. Please watch this space for updates.

Join the ACLU of Minnesota, emcee and renowned gospel singer Jearlyn Steele, and our award winners as we celebrate the heroes who protect and advance civil liberties throughout Minnesota.


This year’s Liberty Awards will be bigger than ever, and we are excited to reach even more Minnesotans with our virtual program, streaming live on Facebook and Youtube on July 16 at 4:30 p.m.

The ACLU-MN Liberty Awards will celebrate the winners of three awards:

  • The John & Maggie Miller Earl Larson Award, which honors a member of the legal community who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to justice and civil liberties, will be awarded to Kim Hunter. Kim is a passionate and experienced immigration lawyer in the Twin Cities who has worked to stop the deportation of many Somali refugees and fought the unlawful denial of citizenship, laying the groundwork for dozens of her clients to reopen their cases and even become citizens. Her work challenging unlawful immigration detention led to four federal court decisions now followed by at least a dozen other district courts.
  • The Ron DeHarpporte Changemaker Award, which honors an individual or organization who has worked closely with the ACLU-MN to protect civil liberties in Minnesota, will be awarded to the Nobles County Public Defenders. The NCPD office has assisted us in lawsuits against the Nobles County Sheriff and the Worthington Police Department. They have protected immigrant rights in Nobles County by keeping us aware of detention violations and alerting us to cases across southern Minnesota, despite facing significant blowback from their work.
  • The Room & Board Torchbearer Award, our newest award, honors an individual or group nominated by the public who has acted bravely to protect and promote civil liberties in Minnesota. It will be awarded to Valerie Castile and her family, and to Amy Koopman. Since her son Philando Castile was killed by police during a traffic stop, Valerie has founded the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which provides help to victims of police violence and pays down school lunch debt. She also helped create a toolkit with the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution to prevent officer-involved fatalities.

    Amy Koopman saw Robbinsdale Police pull over two Black men, livestreamed the encounter and spoke out against police attempts to escalate the situation. Afterward, police charged Amy with obstruction. The ACLU won a dismissal in the case, and Amy is now working with us to change policing practices.

Help us honor these heroes by tuning into our live broadcast on July 16 at 4:30 p.m. to celebrate them and learn more about their tireless work expanding civil liberties and equal justice to all people in Minnesota.

Our program will feature interviews with our inspiring winners and remarks by ACLU staff and Executive Director John Gordon – all emceed by Jearlyn Steele of the renowned gospel group The Steeles and host of Steele Talkin' on WCCO Radio.

We’re also pleased to bring you a virtual silent auction to support our Constitutional Crisis fund. From May 25 through June 3, bid on items like Room & Board rocking chairs; classic edition books from Sterling Publishing; signed artwork by Ricardo Levins Morales; and other great items from our generous donors. 

Register today to virtually attend the 2020 Liberty Awards.

For more information about this event, feel free to reach out to Judy Hawkinson directly at 651-434-3951 or jhawkinson@aclu-mn.org.

The event is free and accessible to the public via Facebook and YouTube. However, we encourage supporters to pre-register. Those who register will receive an invitation to our silent auction and will be the first to receive updates on the event.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, whose support makes this event possible. To learn about opportunities to sponsor the Liberty Awards, click here.

Sponsor Logos and Sponsorship Levels