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 IGNN: Main State Page Press Release

ILLINOIS NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich proclaims today “Desmond Tutu Day” in Illinois
Famed South African archbishop who led fight against apartheid unveils his portrait in the Lincoln Presidential Museum Tutu will receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has proclaimed today, May 13th, Desmond Tutu Day in recognition of the South African Archbishop’s lifelong fight for civil rights.  In a historic trip to the state of Illinois, Archbishop Tutu unveiled the portrait which will be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, and will receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize this evening in Chicago from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

Deputy Governor Louanner Peters joined Tutu and Presidential Library Foundation officials for today’s portrait unveiling.  The display of Archbishop Tutu’s portrait in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is an honor bestowed to those who receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize.  Tutu is only the second person to receive the award - a portrait of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first award recipient in 2006, will soon be painted by the same internationally acclaimed artist, Marla Friedman of Wilmette, Illinois.

 “Archbishop Tutu is a global leader in the fight against intolerance, injustice, violence, tuberculosis, AIDS, and other issues that impact the world,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Today as a state, we pause to appreciate Tutu’s permanent legacy of service to humanity and perseverance in the fight for equality.”

 “It is an honor to paint Archbishop Desmond Tutu who, like Abraham Lincoln, is an impassioned force for freedom and forgiveness.  I hope the portrait will reflect his kindness and the power of his humanity and spiritual strength,” said Friedman.

Desmond Tutu was born on October 7, 1931, and rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.  Tutu’s call for disinvestment by South Africa’s black majority and organization of peaceful protest marches was a major cause of apartheid’s end and led to the release of Nelson Mandela from a lengthy political imprisonment.

In addition to this year’s Lincoln Leadership Prize, Tutu was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent efforts to end the practice of apartheid, and has also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, the Magubela Prize for Liberty, the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Award, the Bill of Rights Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Sydney Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the 2008 OUTSPOKEN Award, as well as numerous other international awards and honorary degrees.

Oprah Winfrey will present the Lincoln Leadership Prize, given to “those singular individuals who accept the responsibilities imposed by history and demanded by conscience,” to Archbishop Tutu during a dinner in his honor this evening at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago.  Famed broadcaster Bill Kurtis will serve as master of ceremonies. 

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to support the exhibits and programs of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

The text of the proclamation is as follows:

WHEREAS,        Desmond Tutu, born on October 7, 1931, is a South African cleric who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid; and

WHEREAS,        Archbishop Tutu’s call for disinvestment by South Africa’s black majority and organization of peaceful protest marches was a major cause of apartheid’s end and led to the release of Nelson Mandela from a lengthy political imprisonment; and

WHEREAS,        Bishop Tutu was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent efforts to end the practice of apartheid; and

WHEREAS,        Archbishop Tutu has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, the Magubela Prize for Liberty, the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Award, the  Bill of Rights Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Sydney Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the 2008 OUTSPOKEN Award, as well as numerous other international awards and honorary degrees; and

WHEREAS,        Archbishop Tutu has been a global leader in the fight against intolerance, violence, tuberculosis, AIDS, and other issues that impact the world’s people; and

WHEREAS,        the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will award its Lincoln Leadership Prize to Archbishop Desmond Tutu on May 13, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois for his lifelong service to humanity and his key role in world history:

THEREFORE I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim May 13, 2008 to be ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU DAY in Illinois, and urge all residents of the state to learn and appreciate Tutu’s permanent legacy of equality and service to humanity.



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