by Anneli Rufus
Berkeley publisher Malcolm Margolin has just won a Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award.
Margolin, who founded Heyday Books in 1974 and has focused on California history and the environment ever since, is one of five 2008 winners of the award established "to recognize individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity," according to the New Mexico-based foundation, which declares in a press release that "Cultural Freedom is a basic human right dependent on political, economic, and environmental justice."
The other winners are anti-pollution activist Bradley Angel, who worked as an advisor to the Colorado River Native Nations Alliance in preventing a radioactive waste dump from being built in the Mojave Desert; anti-domestic-violence activist Esther Chávez-Cano, who works to improve conditions for maquiladoras in the Texas/Mexico border area; undocumented-immigrant-rights activist Isabel García, who works to change border polices; and lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, whose organization, Reprieve, represents over thirty Guantánamo Bay prisoners.
"Mr. Margolin's vision has led the press to be especially active in publishing works by and about the California Indian community," declares the foundation, which is awarding the winners a total of $750,000 for their continued efforts. According to Foundation President Patrick Lannan: "All of the individuals honored this year have tirelessly committed themselves to improving and protecting the lives of the most politically and economically marginalized segments of society, oftentimes making personal sacrifices and sometimes risking their own safety for the well-being of others. We are honored to recognize these five heroes as shining examples in the fight for cultural freedom."