J-SPAN Honors Chirls And Frankel
President Jeffrey Pasek (right) presents Larry
Frankel (left) and Andrew Chirls (center) with second
annual Social Justice Award. (Photo: Bonnie Squires)
Social Justice Award recipients.
-- Bonnie Squires
Jeffrey Pasek, Esq., president of J-SPAN, Jewish Social Policy Action Network, presided over the organization's 2006 Social Jusice Award event at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue on Tuesday, September 19. Honorees were Andrew Chirls, 78th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and Larry Frankel, legislative director of the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, of Pennsylvania.
Chirls and Frankel were honored for their respective advocacy efforts in the field of human rights for the past several decades.
Andrew A. Chirls, the Philadelphia Bar Association's 78th Chancellor, has been engaged in litigation practice at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP since 1982. He is accomplished as both a commercial and a torts trial lawyer and has tried a wide array of commercial cases, including those involving acquisition of land for major public projects, employment issues and disputes over religious property.
While attending the University of California at Berkeley, Andrew became passionately committed to gay rights legal issues. He was instrumental in establishing the Philadelphia Bar Association's Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men and led an effort to get the 25 largest firms to endorse a model non-discrimination policy. Andrew also has considerable experience in age and gender discrimination claims and successfully tried, for the plaintiff, the first case presented to a Pennsylvania jury for discrimination based on AIDS/HIV status. During his term as Chancellor, Andrew championed outreach to immigrant and non-English-speaking communities.
In every aspect of his legal career, Andrew Chirls has demonstrated his determination to use the law and the justice system to reach across language and other barriers, thereby empowering those who are marginalized in society.
Larry Frankel is the Legislative Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. Larry has been associated with the ACLU of Pennsylvania since 1992 and served as its Executive Director from 1996 through 2001. Throughout his affiliation with the ACLU, he has been its lobbyist in Harrisburg and the primary spokesperson on legislative matters in the Commonwealth.
Like his life-partner Andrew, Larry's commitment to helping the oppressed was nurtured during his years at Berkeley. He has lobbied, written and spoken out on critical issues such as the death penalty, reproductive freedom, gay and lesbian rights, the First Amendment, criminal justice reform, voting rights and racial discrimination. Larry's face, voice and writings have been seen, heard and read regularly in the national, state and local media. He was engaged in the successful effort to block the Marriage Amendment in the State Legislature this past year and he is currently working on changing death penalty procedures in Pennsylvania as they relate to people with mental retardation.
Larry Frankel has stood at the barricades on behalf of those whose voices are too often silenced. He embodies the values for which our organization stands in his pursuit of dignity and fairness for the disenfranchised and powerless.
The keynote address was given by Ronald J. Tabak, co-chair of the Death Penalty Committee of the American Bar Association's Section on Individual Rights and
In addition to J-SPAN officers and board members, a number of elected officials were on hand for the award, including Representatives Mark
Cohen, Mike Gerber, Babette Josephs, and Chris Ross. Michael Nutter, former City Council member, was there as well.
Alan Feldman, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, one of the honorary co-chairs, was on hand for the event. Governor Ed Rendell and Senator Arlen Specter were the other co-chairs.