Press Release 1.18.01

For immediate release
For more information, contact:     

Kathy Rowan 704.541.7529 or

Stephanie Ansaldo 704.347.3844


December 18, 2000 (Charlotte, NC) – Human rights activist Kerry Kennedy Cuomo will be the keynote speaker at The Echo Foundation’s Second Annual Award Dinner, Wednesday, February 28, 2001, 6:30 p.m. at Charlotte Hilton and Towers where Charlotte community leader Bishop George E. Battle, Jr. will receive the “Echo Award Against Indifference.” Tickets for the dinner ($150 individual, $1,500 table sponsor, $3,000 patron table sponsor) are available now by calling The Echo Foundation at 347-3844.
Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, daughter of former Senator Robert Kennedy, was inspired by her father’s interest in the struggle for human rights. Cuomo’s active participation began with a college internship at Amnesty International in 1981, documenting the abuses of U.S. immigration officials against refugees from El Salvador. Since then, Cuomo has founded the RFK Center of Human Rights and has led more than 40 human rights delegations to more than 30 countries. She has worked on such diverse issues as child labor, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, the environment, and women’s rights. Cuomo recently published “Speak Truth to Power,” a book depicting the story of 51 human rights defenders.
While in Charlotte, Cuomo will participate in numerous educational activities, including a student dialogue at Zebulon B. Vance High School, a book signing, and a news conference. “The Kerry Kennedy Cuomo Project” begins in January, with programs targeted toward educators and students to broaden awareness of human rights issues prior to Cuomo’s visit. Scheduled programs include an art competition and a student tolerance day.
George E. Battle, Jr. currently serves as Bishop of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District (including the Virgin Islands) of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Battle’s contributions to Charlotte are numerous, but his work most profoundly impacts the youth in our community. He founded the Gethsemane Enrichment Program in 1975, to empower underprivileged children. The program has received many awards including an Audrey Nelson Community Development National Achievement Award in 1989. A dedicated member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board for 17 years (1978 to 1995), Battle’s ongoing commitment to helping young people achieve their goals is the hallmark of his life’s work.
“George Battle is a wonderful recipient for the Second Annual Echo Award Against Indifference. George has been fighting against indifference all of his adult life. Here in our Charlotte community, George has, in his own positive, grace-filled way, taken on those powerful negative attitudes that perpetuate poverty, child neglect, racism, and unequal educational opportunity,” said Echo Trustee Sally Robinson. “The special thing about George is that as he has fought the good fight, he has built lasting bridges of good will among many segments of the community that have not always worked together for the common good.”
The Echo Award was established last year to honor a member of the Mecklenburg County community who works “with an eye towards peace, a heart filled with compassion and a voice against indifference, in order to remind our community of its highest ideals.” Last year’s recipient was Joe Martin, a Bank of America executive regarded as one of Charlotte’s most courageous advocates for the rights and dignity of all people.
Echo Award Dinner Committee Co-Chairs are Nick Bradick, vice president of American Management Systems, Inc. and Amy Brinkley, senior vice president of Bank of America.
The Echo Foundation was founded in 1997 by Stephanie G. Ansaldo to carry on the message that Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel brought to Charlotte during The Elie Wiesel Project – a call to action for human dignity, justice and moral courage. Most recently, the Foundation sponsored The Harry Wu Project (Spring 2000), an educational program centered on the visit of Chinese dissident and human rights activist, Harry Wu. The Foundation has also sponsored a production of “The White Rose” (Spring 1999), The Varian Fry Project (Fall 1999), and a Charles Fawcett Visit (Fall 1998).