In a rare public appearance since her testimony before Congress last year during the Brett Cavanaugh hearings, Christine Blasey Ford received the Rodger Baldwin Courage Award at the ACLU of Southern California’s annual Bill of Rights dinner, it was reported Monday.
Ford, whose presence at the Sunday night event was not previously disclosed, got a long standing ovation and cheers from the crowd when she appeared on stage to accept the award, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Last year, Ford, a professor and research psychologist, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about being sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen,” Ford said. “I had a responsibility to my country, to my fellow citizens, to my students, to my children.”
Right-wing media incessantly attacked her. President Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets and Kavanaugh’s nomination was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate. But the attacks on Ford continued.
“I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks,” she told the crowd on Sunday, according to The Times. “I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.”
She spoke of the bravery of others who were attacked for coming forward, including Anita Hill and Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to the Ukraine who drew the ire of Trump supporters when she recently testified before a Congressional committee. Ford told the crowd that public support gives strength to those who are attacked.
“My voice was just one voice,” she said. “You are many. We are many.”
Ford was introduced by Judd Apatow, who called her “a true American hero.” The executive director of the ACLU SoCal, Hector Villagra, said of her, “The impact of Dr. Ford was not just in her testimony, but also in the fact that she came forward to tell it. It was a shining act of courage that exposed her to vile hatred and unspeakable threats. We are honored to give her this award.”
Other awards bestowed at the event went to actor Don Cheadle and songwriter Justin Tranter, both of whom are activists with deep commitments to social justice causes. Singer Selena Gomez was a presenter and actress/singer Chrissy Metz performed “I’m Standing With You” by songwriter Diane Warren.
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