“I can actually still recall my outrage about it. It’s probably the earliest book that I can remember reading,” he said. “That, to a large extent, has motivated everything I do.”
It wasn’t just the story of the wrongly accused that got to him, Concannon said, but how a justice system that was meant to protect people could itself be used as an “instrument of abusive authority” — a lesson with special relevance to Haiti.
“Haiti is, unfortunately, a place where the justice system is ... still systemically used for oppression,” he said.
The Salem Award includes a monetary prize, but board member Lynn Murray said she didn’t know much it would be this year, as it’s dependent upon fundraising efforts.
“We hope for the best,” she said.
The award ceremony will take place at Hawthorne Hotel on Sunday, March 23, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15, though admission is free for Salem residents and Salem State University students. Tickets for the award presentation, plus a dinner afterward, cost $60.
Both Concannon and Joseph are expected to deliver remarks during the ceremony, as are Mayor Kim Driscoll and Salem State University President Patricia Meservey, both honorary co-chairs of the award board.
Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at email@example.com.