The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee will honor Hedy Weinberg with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its Thursday, November 10 fundraiser. Weinberg was the organization’s executive director for more than 37 years, until she stepped down in early July.
“For four decades, Hedy has been a pillar in the movement for justice, freedom and equity in the state of Tennessee,” said ACLU-TN Board Chair Paula Williams. “Her decades of hard work, tenacity, and dedication moved the needle on free speech, religious freedom, LGBTQ rights, fair treatment of immigrants, criminal justice reform, voting rights and more in Tennessee, and we are excited to honor her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Weinberg was named ACLU of Tennessee executive director in 1984. Under her leadership, the organization became Tennessee’s leading statewide organization in the fight for civil liberties and civil rights, with significant achievements in a range of issue areas. Highlights of ACLU-TN’s criminal justice reform and policing work over the years include leading opposition to the privatization of the Tennessee prison system; launching a multi-faceted campaign challenging financial requirements as a prerequisite to voter restoration for individuals with felony convictions; initiating a community engagement, storytelling and public education campaign on rural bail practices; and proving in federal court that the Memphis police department violated ACLU-TN’s 1978 consent decree by, once again, spying on political protestors.
During Weinberg’s tenure, the organization also fought for religious freedom, including filing a series of successful lawsuits to stop religious activities in public schools and remove the Ten Commandments posted in local courthouses, and mobilizing with the Muslim community to defeat anti-Muslim initiatives at the local and state levels. On the immigration front, ACLU-TN co-founded a coalition that led to the defeat of Nashville’s English-only ballot initiative; and secured a settlement in a lawsuit with ICE and Metro Nashville police, who had conducted an illegal warrantless raid on an apartment complex home to mostly Latino residents.
In the area of reproductive freedom, ACLU-TN challenged the state abortion statute and established a state constitutional right to privacy in 2000; and filed numerous challenges to Tennessee’s abortion laws, including blocking Tennessee’s sweeping abortion ban and medically unsound “abortion reversal” laws prior to the Dobbs decision. The organization has also long worked for LGBTQ equality, including leading a legislative campaign to establish “sexual orientation” as a protected category in state law for the first time in 2003, and, most recently, establishing a statewide trans justice education and advocacy initiative.
The ACLU-TN fundraiser will take place on Thursday, November 10 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Wilburn Street Studio in Nashville. Tickets for the event are $150 per person – $75 for attendees 35 and under – and are available here, along with sponsorship opportunities ranging from $500 - $10,000. Tickets and sponsorships may also be purchased by calling the ACLU-TN office at 615-320-7142.
Release from the ACLU-TN