Freedom Expression Awards

Freedom Expression Awards

by guest contributor John Arundel
Photo credit: Kyle Gustafson

Comedian and contributor to “The Daily Show” Jordan Keppler headlined the Freedom Forum’s Free Expression Awards April 28 on the eve of the White House Correspondents Weekend, bringing his widely-acclaimed political satire and commentary to an evening celebrating the First Amendment and honoring champions of “free and fearless” expression.  The awards ceremony was hosted by MSNBC host and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, and honored several champions of the First Amendment-protected freedoms of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly.  

Dem Raider Boys perform at the 2022 Free Expression Awards held at The Anthem in Washington, D.C.

“The First Amendment guarantees that Americans, comedians included, can speak their mind and make their voices heard,” Keplpler said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of Freedom Forum’s evening honoring a group of incredible, diverse Americans for their advocacy, activism and commitment to the First Amendment and the rights it protects.” 

Jordan Klepper

The evening’s first honoree was Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who received the evening’s foremost honor, the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. Other recipients included Nikole Hannah-Jones, Knight Chair in Race and Journalism and founder of the Center for Journalism and Democracy at Howard University, Eric Treene, former Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the leaders of Stop AAPI Hate: Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action; Russell Jeung, professor at San Francisco State University and Manjusha P. Kulkarni, executive director of the AAPI Equity Alliance. 

Jordan Klepper, Jan Neuharth and Jonathan Capehart

Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum, said that the Free Expression Awards are an important way to celebrate the stories of Americans who have exercised their rights to “ignite change.” She added that Jordan Klepper has already “shone such a light on the importance of the First Amendment in his work on ‘The Daily Show’ and throughout his impressive career in comedy. He’ll be an excellent addition to our lineup of outstanding honorees who have helped bring those freedoms to life for people across our nation.” 

Jordan Klepper is known for his work on the Emmy Award-winning Daily Show, with both Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah, as well as hosting both the late night Comedy Central show ‘The Opposition with Jordan Klepper,’ as well as Comedy Central’s unique eight episode docu-series, ‘Klepper.’ He gained notoriety with his work at Trump political rallies, coaching Hillary Clinton on her reading of the Mueller Report, and getting arrested standing up for Immigrant rights in Atlanta. His special ‘Jordan Klepper Solves Guns’ brought attention to the heated gun debate, as well as his multi-part ‘Daily Show’ segments “Good Guy with a Gun.” Other appearances include HBO’s ‘Night of Too Many Stars,’ Netflix’s ‘The Who Was Show,’ IFC’s ‘Bunk,’ @MIDNIGHT and many more.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Peter Nguyen and Joseph Reef chair the 2022 Free Expression Awards Chairs. The 2022 Free Expression Awards Steering Committee includes: Kristina Arriaga, Martin Baron, Wolf Blitzer, Antoinette Bush, Connie Chung and Maury Povich, Wayne A. I. Frederick, Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Clark Hoyt and Linda Kauss, Brent W. Jones, John and Cynthia Lee, Elisa Lees Muñoz, Barbara Wall and Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt. 

Ticket proceeds support education and advocacy to empower all Americans to know, understand, value and defend the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.