Debs AwardFoundationHistory

Honoring the Innocence Project

The Innocence Project will receive the Eugene V. Debs Award on October 23, 2021. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Award event was postponed until 2021 due to the dangerous and uncertain conditions in the world and the U.S. created by the pandemic.

The Award ceremonies will be a virtual event. The Debs Foundation is working with the Innocence Project to create a program that celebrates the extraordinary efforts that have contributed to the exoneration of more than 230 innocent people through DNA testing and other means. In addition to freeing the innocent, the Innocence Project works to address the leading causes of wrongful convictions and prevent future injustices through the courts, the legal system and legislatures throughout the country. Its social work department also provides support to exonerees as they rebuild their lives post-release.

The connections between the foundation and the Innocence Project are profound. Gene Debs was put in prison in Woodstock, Illinois, following the Pullman Strike and decades later in the Atlanta Federal Prison for speaking out against the role of the U.S. in the First World War. While in the Atlanta Prison he ran for President of the United States on the Socialist Party ticket and received over a million votes. After Debs’ death, his family published Walls and Bars, a collection of essays exposing the conditions of the U.S. penal system of a hundred years ago. The Innocence Project is an essential component in the current struggle to ensure justice for all. More information about its work is available on its excellent website.

Further details for the October 23 virtual award program will be provided on our website as the event approaches. Please contact us by emailing with any inquiries.