Jerry Markatos

Some very good news about an old friend, received via email this week:

The Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina is pleased to announce Jerry Markatos of Pittsboro, N.C., as the recipient of its 2009 International Human Rights Award. Markatos is a “longtime unsung hero” in providing support for the human-rights struggles in Latin America and the Middle East.

“I feel lucky to be part of a crowd of people here in North Carolina who actively work toward a compassionate world, with respect for human dignity,” Markatos said.

Markatos, a native of Wilmington, N.C., has served for many years on the boards of the Carolina Interfaith Taskforce on Central America and the Southeast chapter of Witness for Peace and as a former board member of the N.C. Editorial Forum. He has arranged travel to Fort Benning, Ga., for the annual protest against the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He hosts and organizes fundraising events each year for Pastors for Peace “to help them carry much-needed medical, educational and construction supplies to Cuba.”

In 1991 Markatos co-founded Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, a co-sponsor of many programs that have focused on human-rights abuses in the Middle East and in Latin America. He continues to chair BAJ.

“Jerry grasps the deepest connections and contradictions inherent in governmental policies and practices,” said Tana Hartman of Chapel Hill. “And he sees the enormous obstacles to turning the juggernaut around before it destroys us all. But so do many others.

“What makes Jerry absolutely unique in my experience,” Hartman continued, “is that, despite his tremendous knowledge and utter abhorrence of the inequities and injustices that continue unabated around the globe, he remains one of the most genuinely positive, humble, good-natured and compassionate individuals I have ever met.”

For more information about HRCNC and this award, visit the website here