The Citizenship Award is given to an individual from one of the six New England states who has fought for information crucial to the public’s understanding of its community or what its government is doing — or not doing — on its behalf.
Kempthorne will be honored April 21 at NEFAC’s 11th annual New England First Amendment Awards for resigning in protest from her position as general counsel to the Berkshire County district attorney after being ordered not to release public records that were clearly public.
Kempthorne's resignation came last year after the Berkshire Eagle filed a public records request for communications between the District Attorney's Office and officials at Bard College at Simon's Rock concerning a student's claim that she had been racially attacked on campus.
Kempthorne said she could find no legal reason to justify holding back the emails and fought the district attorney's contention that they not be released. She released the public documents and later resigned in protest saying the office placed political concerns above the publics' right to know about government.
Previous recipients of the Citizenship Award are Cook v. Raimondo Student Activists (2020); David Saad (2019); the Hyde Square Task Force (2018); Donna Green (2017); Michael Champa (2016); Harriet Cady (2015); Kit Savage (2014); and David Lang (2013).
The awards ceremony will be online at 7 p.m. on April 21. Tickets can be purchased here. All proceeds will benefit civics education in New England.