Friday, May 27, 2005 | midnight
The Anti-Defamation League awarded Las Vegas Sun Publisher Barbara Greenspun the Americanism Award on Thursday for a lifetime of working to improve the community and the world.
Greenspun, an active member of the Las Vegas community, was honored at the annual American Heritage dinner at Caesars Palace.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and former President Bill Clinton praised Greenspun via a prepared video that was shown at the dinner, attended by more than 600 people.
"To all of my friends, thank you so much for your support," Greenspun told the crowd.
Greenspun, the mother of four, grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of two, also thanked her family.
But in addition to being "the matriarch of a wonderful family" Greenspun deserved recognition for her service to the people of Nevada, Berkley said.
"I've had the great pleasure of growing up in Las Vegas and seeing Barbara Greenspun from a distance and now I have the great pleasure of knowing her well," Berkley said. "There is not a more extraordinary woman in the state of Nevada."
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, who was the keynote speaker at the dinner, said he first met Greenspun and her late husband Hank Greenspun -- the founder and publisher of the Las Vegas Sun -- in the 1950s while working as a correspondent in New York.
He said he came to Las Vegas to meet Hank Greenspun because "Hank was a legend (for) his courage, his vision, his self-sacrifice for the cause of Jewish honor, of Jewish hope and for Jewish solidarity."
Wiesel also addressed the overall issue of "hate" throughout his speech, reminding the audience of the Holocaust and the lasting effects of genocide and messages of hate in the post-World War II world. Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor.
Besides honoring Greenspun, the dinner served to bring awareness to "hate issues" and various groups that the Anti-Defamation League identified as spreading a hateful message, such as the National Alliance, a white separatist group that has been active in the Las Vegas Valley.
Warnings about the rise of extremist "hate groups" and "hate speech" were visited throughout the night, as Anti-Defamation League members such as Abraham Foxman, the national director, and Burton Cohen, a national commissioner, discussed intolerance in America and Nevada.
"There is no place for hate in Las Vegas," Cohen said.
But the night was primarily reserved for Greenspun.
Cynthia Luria, Nevada regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said Greenspun represents the core values of the organization.
"We're proud to honor her," she said. "I think America has always had the pioneer spirit, and I think Barbara has always had that pioneer spirit."
Reid said Greenspun has been a "driving force in the community" for decades and was thankful for her service to Nevada residents.
She initially had helped Hank Greenspun edit a magazine called "Las Vegas Life." He later bought a newspaper and renamed it the Las Vegas Sun in 1950. The family also launched the first television station in Las Vegas in 1953.