Freedom Award winners attend public forum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Freedom Award winners attend public forum

She's the queen of media, and this year Oprah Winfrey is also the National Civil Rights Museum's National Freedom Award winner.

Oprah shared the stage at Thursday morning's public forum with Ruby Dee.

Dee's husband Ossie Davis passed away earlier this year. From the podium Dee reminisced about civil rights struggles of the past, and encouraged the audience to fight on in the future.

"Today is ours; lets live it," she said. "Love is strong."

Paul Rusesabagina , who's life was featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda, is this year's International Freedom Award winner.

He gave graphic detail of the genocide he risked his life to stop in Rwanda, and made a plea on behalf of people around the world who are still being denied freedom.

"Those voices are calling us for help," he said. "Please stand up, and get in the fight for freedom."

To bring the Freedom Award's message home, Oprah challenged the audience to strive for excellence.

"Excellence is the best deterrent to racism," Winfrey said. "Excellence is the best deterrent to sexism, so therefore be excellent."

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