Gleitsman Awards

Marta Russell ap888 at
Mon Apr 10 16:00:50 PDT 2000

Jack Kevorkian and death row lawyer Bryan Stevenson will both receive the Gleitsman Foundation Citizen Activist Award today. The dual award this year is indeed ironic; one awardee is to be heralded for taking the lives over 100 disabled persons, the other for saving the lives of inmates on death row.

By dignifying Kevorkian with this Citizen Activist Award, the Gleitsman Foundation aligns humanism with the bourgeois eugenicists, social Darwinists, and Malthusian population control zealots who target disabled lives as lives not worth living.

I've written a rather long commentary on Kevorkian which gives details of his acts and intents -- if anyone is interested email me off list.

Marta Russell

For Immediate Release Contacts: Stephen Drake April 10, 2000 Diane Coleman (708)209-1500

Disability Rights Activists Protest Kevorkian Award

The Gleitsman Foundation, usually known for honoring individuals for humanitarian work, has named Jack Kevorkian as recipient of a $50,000 "Citizen Activist Award". In a press release announcing the award, Alan L. Gleitsman asserted that "Dr. Kevorkian has been a selfless believer in death with dignity" and had "sacrificed his medical career" in pursuing this goal.

"That's a crock," said Tom Cagle, Board member of Not Dead Yet. "Kevorkian's career was on the skids long before he turned to assisting in suicides. He was in a state of 'forced retirement" for years and was even turned down for a paramedic job."

Kevorkian is not the only recipient of the award this year. Sharing the award is lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who has spent his professional career fighting for the rights of unjustly convicted death row prisoners. "The pairing of these two individuals is absurd," said Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet's Research Analyst. "Kevorkian spent over 30 years advocating to be allowed to give death row prisoners a choice of dying through a 'dignified' administration of general anesthesia, provided they volunteered to remain alive and sedated for a few hours or days while medical professionals performed lethal surgical experimentation on them."

The fact that individuals such as Marian Wright Edelman, of the Children's Defense Fund, Morris Dees, Jr., of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Stanley Sheinbaum, Honorary Chair of Human Rights Watch, feminist Gloria Steinem, and actor Ted Danson could participate in selecting Kevorkian for an honor like this can only be interpreted as a shocking disregard for the views of the 10 national disability rights organizations that oppose legalized assisted suicide and the activities of Jack Kevorkian.

Disabled protesters carry placards with the names, faces and stories of people whose lives ended at Kevorkian's hands. Like the majority of Kevorkian's body count, the majority of the names and faces on protesters' signs are middle-aged women with disabilities and chronic conditions, women who experienced rejection by employers, friends, families and lovers after they acquired a disability.

"The surgeon general recently declared suicide to be a national health crisis," said Diane Coleman, Not Dead Yet's founder and President. "But apparently not if it involves an old, ill or disabled person who can't get the support they need. The Gleitsman Foundation and its judges, in honoring Jack Kevorkian, are calling a serial killer of disabled people a humanitarian. This could never happen with any other minority group, and we're outraged at the contempt for us expressed by this award."

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