The Ridenhour Prizes celebrated its tenth anniversary yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. This year, James Hansen was the recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize. For more than two decades, NASA scientist and climatologist James Hansenhas been one of the most outspoken voices in the scientific community on the growing threat of global warming. He was recognized for bravely and urgently telling the truth about climate change, even when the Bush administration tried to silence and penalizehim as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Rather than giving in, or giving up, Hansen — one of the world's most tireless and articulate activists — has courageously and continuously led the fight to save the planet ever since.
Jose Antonio Vargas is the 2013 recipient of The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling. An immigrant to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 12, Vargas became a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post. But for over a decade, Vargaslived under a constant cloud of fear that the truth about his immigration status would be revealed. Vargas received the 2013 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling because he, like Ron Ridenhour, had a choice: to remain silent and safe or reveal his truth and risksanctions. For Vargas those risks included the loss of a promising career and deportation. When he came forward to tell his story in a groundbreaking essay that chronicled his life as an undocumented immigrant, it catalyzed the movement around immigrationreform and the DREAM Act. Shortly after coming forward, Vargas founded the organization Define American to elevate the conversation around immigration issues. Vargas was unable to attend the ceremony in person and asked his good friend and introducer Gaby Pacheco to accept the award on his behalf.
Seth Rosenfeld won The Ridenhour Book Prize for Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals and Reagan's Rise to Power. In it, Rosenfeld tells the gripping story of FBI surveillance, illegal break-ins, infiltration, planted news stories, poison-pen letters, andsecret detention lists that dominated the government agency for decades and laid the foundation for the Reagan era. Rosenfeld has won the Ridenhour Book Prize for his masterful and seamless braiding of investigative research and storytelling dexterity to depictan American government that used its vast resources for partisan political gain under the cloak of protecting the nation from a nebulous external threat.
The Invisible War, by filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, is the 2013 recipient of The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary into the troubling epidemic of rape in the US military. Focusing on thepowerful stories of rape victims, it is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes. It chronicles the women's struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice and reveals the devastating consequences of the reliance on chain of commandin military life.
Taya Kitman, Director of The Nation Institute, introduces the speakers at the tenth annual Ridenhour Prizes.
All photos by: JON BLACK
Conrad Martin, Executive Director of the Fund for Constitutional Government, which is a strategic partner of The Ridenhour Prizes, at the ceremony on April 24, 2013.
Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, a Ridenhour Prizes strategic partner, and emcee of the 2013 Ridenhour Prizes.
Randy Fertel, president of the Fertel Foundation and co-sponsor of The Ridenhour Prizes, speaks before a packed audience at the tenth anniversary of the prizes.
Gaby Pacheco presents the 2013 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling to Jose Antonio Vargas, and accepts it in his stead.
Jose Antonio Vargas, winner of the 2013 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling.
Liza Goitein introduces Seth Rosenfeld, winner of the 2013 Ridenhour Courage Prize for his book Subversives.
Seth Rosenfeld accepts the 2013 Ridenhour Book Prize for Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power.
Katrina vanden Heuvel (right) presents the 2013 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize to The Invisible War filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.
Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering give their acceptance remarks on winning the 2013 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize for The Invisible War.
Joe Romm presents the Ridenhour Courage Prize to James Hansen, April 24, 2013.
2013 Ridenhour Courage Prize recipient Dr. James Hansen at the pre-luncheon reception, April 24.
Thomas Drake, 2011 recipient of The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, takes a bow at the awards luncheon.
Ron Ridenhour's sister, Joan Ridenhour Davis, greets former Ridenhour Prize winner Nick Turse at the awards luncheon, April 24, 2013.
Ridenhour at Ten: War and Whistleblowing from Vietnam to Today, a panel discussion, was held immediately following the awards luncheon at the National Press Club. The panel featured, from left to right, former winners Thomas Drake, Matthew Hoh, and Nick Turse, as well as former director of the Information Security Oversight Office J. William Leonard. The panel was moderated by Roberta Baskin.
Roberta Baskin, award-winning investigative reporter and former senior Washington correspondent for NOW with Bill Moyers, moderates the panel discussion.
2010 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling winner Matthew Hoh and 2011 winner Thomas Drake (left) speak at a panel discussion, Ridenhour at Ten: War and Whistleblowing from Vietnam to Today, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Ridenhour Prizes.