Chelsea Handler, Hans Zimmer, Paula Poundstone At The ACLU Of Southern California Bill Of Rights Awards

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On Monday, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer was honored for his longtime support of human rights and civil liberties by the ACLU of Southern California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Other honorees included MTV executive Amy Doyle and the former executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, Ramona Ripston. The evening was emceed by comedienne Paula Poundstone.

When he accepted his award onstage, Zimmer said, "Being here in this room makes me feel like a triangle player's understudy in the LA Phil..." He added playfully: "musician's joke!" The audience roared with laughter. He looked out at the banquet hall, which was filled with Los Angeles activist and non-profit groups as well as civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson (he was Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s expert on nonviolence theory and tactics), first amendment activist Larry Flynt, and middle-class champion Professor Elizabeth Warren of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (who had flown cross-country to introduce Zimmer). He thanked the ACLU for their dedication to the protection of civil rights and liberties, as well as his staff for their support.

Photos by Gary Leonard for the ACLU of Southern California.

ACLU of Southern California Bill of Rights Dinner
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Later, comedienne Chelsea Handler honored the second Bill of Rights winner, MTV's Executive Vice-President of Music & Talent Amy Doyle, for her work in expanding women's roles in the music industry. Doyle was celebrated in a star-studded tribute video with thank-yous from Kanye West, Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. Handler praised Doyle for mentoring young women in the entertainment industry and drew a humorous parallel between herself and the honoree: "Mentoring young women is the whole reason I wrote a book about one-night stands!"

Finally, a slew of people, from producer Norman Lear to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, honored Ramona Ripston, former executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. After working 38 years for civil liberty through her work at the ACLU of Southern California, she was presented with the inaugural Ramona Ripston Liberty and Justice Award. Speakers credited her as the reason "prisoners in wheelchairs no longer have to crawl up stairs" and "farmworkers have the right to a drink of water" in soaring temperatures. Her lawsuits to desegregate schools, condemnation of the LAPD during the Los Angeles riots, and vigilance on behalf of Muslim-Americans after 9/11 were lauded, as well as her impeccable style and grace. As she accepted the award, she said, "I'm both embarrassed and thrilled to say aloud the name of that award. I hope I'm worth of it." And, not to be outdone by all the professional comedians and actors in the house, she threw in a joke about her retirement: "Now, when I call you for lunch, it will not necessarily mean [I'm asking] for a donation."

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