The Ridenhour Courage Prize


George Soros

George Soros has dedicated his life to promoting the values of open society, human rights, and transparency around the world. Read more



Tarana Burke

The founder of #MeToo will be honored for her tireless fight for racial and gender justice. Read more



Anna Deavere Smith

Through her unique body of work, Anna Deavere Smith, an acclaimed actress, playwright, and educator, has advanced public understanding and social progress on issues of fundamental importance. By combining elements of stagecraft, journalism, storytelling, social commentary, and personal observation, Smith has redefined the role of the artist as an engaged citizen and communicator. Read more


Jamie Kalven

Jamie Kalven, a journalist and human rights activist, who has long reported on police abuse and impunity in Chicago, is the 2016 recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize. As founder and executive director of the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based journalistic production company, Kalven oversaw the launch of the Citizens Police Data Project, an interactive database housing 56,000 civilian complaints against 8,500 Chicago police officers — information he secured after a lengthy court battle.. Read more


James Risen

James Risen, author and New York Times investigative journalist known for his reporting on government surveillance and the War on Terror, has investigated the world's most secretive and powerful government agencies. During a seven-year battle with the government, he fought to protect his sources, vowing to go to jail if necessary. Read more



Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.

Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., the 2014 recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize, served as the Chief Counsel of the Church Committee in the mid-1970s, engaging in the most wide-ranging, effective, and famous investigation of the intelligence community that the nation has seen. In light of the challenges from today's surveillance state, and in recognition of his life-long commitment to strengthening democracy and rule of law, Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. exemplifies the spirit of the prize. Read more


James Hansen

Dr. James Hansen, the 2013 recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize, was recognized for bravely and urgently telling the truth about climate change, even when the Bush administration tried to silence and penalize him as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Rather than giving in, or giving up, Dr. Hansen—one of the world’s most tireless and articulate activists—has courageously and continuously led the fight to save the planet ever since. Read more


Rep. John Lewis

Often called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced," John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress. Read more


United States Senator Russ Feingold

United States Senator Russ Feingold spent eighteen years as a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, and before that ten years as a State Senator from Middleton. In his nearly three decades as an elected official, Feingold has earned a reputation for taking principled stands regardless of the potential political consequences. He is best known for the historic McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, which sought to decrease the power of money in politics. Since leaving the Senate, Feingold has founded Progressives United, whose mission is to ensure that voters — rather than rich donors — decide elections. In addition to The Ridenhour Prize for Courage, Feingold is a recipient of the 2011 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Read more


Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, the posthumous 2010 recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize, was recognized for his determination to showcase the hidden heroes of social movements throughout history, his refusal to accept the history of only the powerful and victorious, his steadfast belief in the potential for a better world, his unflinching moral stance on fighting whatever he perceived was wrong in society, his fight to inspire students to believe that together, they could make democracy come alive, and, in the words of his former student Alice Walker, "his way with resistance." Read more


Bob Herbert

Bob Herbert, 2009 recipient of the Ridenhour Courage Prize, was recognized for the overall distinction and fearless truth-telling of his reporting in the New York Times. A champion of the under-reported story, Herbert provides moral clarity and a sense of outrage to his ongoing depiction of injustice. Read more


Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers, 2008 recipient of the Ridenhour Courage Prize, is the host of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. From his service as one of the original organizers of the Peace Corps to his founding of Public Affairs Television, Moyers has dedicated his life to ensuring that the media work to preserve and strengthen our democracy. Read more