Best Voice Against Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Hatred - 2011
Bill Straus can talk. And what he says is worth listening to. As regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona, he's the media's go-to guy when it comes to discussing the ever-broiling ethnic strife here in Sand Land, hate crimes, Senate Bill 1070, neo-Nazis, or the latest anti-Latino antics of state Senate President Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.In a state where some civil rights groups (and we won't name names) are virtually invisible, Straus is always there to draw the bright line of what should be unacceptable in civilized society. Prejudice and hatred, and those who preach them, are his enemies. His friends are Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Hindu, Native American, and every variation of humanity under the sun. The gift of gab? That comes naturally. As a young man, he parlayed his verbal dexterity into a job announcing horse races. Then into talk radio, long before all talk-radio hosts were right-wing muttonheads. Now he uses those same skills to decry discrimination, racism, and bigotry of all kinds. His detractors say that Straus never shuts up. We hope he never does.