2023 Kandler Awards Celebration Recap!

On October 18th, we celebrated our 38th Annual Kandler Awards Celebration, honoring Beatrice “Bebe” Coker, Leading Civil rights and Education Advocate, and John Whitelaw, Esq., Advocacy Director, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., for their incredible impact on civil rights in Delaware. 

Gatherings were held in both Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, with over 150 guests attending in person, and live streamed for guests choosing to celebrate from home. Hosted by Executive Director Mike Brickner, the event celebrated our two honorees with a special musical guest, the Choir School of Delaware, who performed two pieces that had the audience singing along. Our awardees were honored with proclamations from Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Senator Chris Coons, County Executive Matt Meyer, Governor John Carney, and President Joe Biden. 

Our robust online silent auction included incredible items such as wine and spirits, locally handmade decor, arts performance tickets, and more. Bidding wars went right up until the last minute!

We want to extend a special thank you to our event planning committee, event sponsors, silent auction donors, and all who joined us at this year’s incredible event. Because of your support, we’re thrilled to announce that this was our most successful fundraiser to date — raising a total of over $74,000 in support of the protection of civil liberties!

We've already begun the countdown until next year! 

Still have Kandler questions? Contact Melissa Bryson at mbryson@aclu-de.org

Learn More About the Award Recipients 

Beatrice "Bebe" Coker, Leading Civil Rights and Education Advocate

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Learn more about Bebe


John Whitelaw, Esq., Advocacy Director, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.

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Learn more about John

Learn More About the Choir School of Delaware 

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The Choir School of Delaware performing "Lift Every Voice and Sing", a hymn that is also known as the Black National Anthem. This hymn was performed live at the 2023 Kandler Awards Celebration. 

Visit the Choir School of Delaware's Website


Photo Gallery

Wilmington Celebration

Guests mingle ahead at the Carriage House in Wilmington.

More in this series

Our Sponsors

Protectors of Freedom

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Protectors of Freedom

Ross, Aronstam, & Mortiz LLP
Matthew & Hilary Ziffer

Defenders of Liberty

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Defenders of Liberty

Community Legal Aid Society, Inc
Matt Meyer
Joan Kandler

Partners in Justice

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Partners in Justice

Morris, Nichols, Arsht, & Tunnell LLP
David and Sally McBride
Joanne Cabry

Video and Photography Sponsor

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Betsy McGeever


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Brian Kandler
Marion & Lawrence Hamermesh
Tom O'Brien
Norman Monhait and Marcia Halperin 
Judy and David Mellen
Carmen Twyman
Amy Simmerman
Nan Hunter
Planned Parenthood of Delaware
City Council of Wilmington


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Delaware Law School
Metrocolor Parcels
Thomas and Marie Foley
Kate Cowperthwait
David and Gwen Brown
Jeffrey and Linnea Goddess
Jeffrey Raffel
Serena M. Williams
Mike and Katie Brickner
Grace & Blair Messner
Don Peterson
Sharon Borton
Robert and Ellen Meyer
Laina & Michael Herbert
Kathy Epler
Ariel and Benjamin Gruswitz
Martin & Lisa Lessner
Tom & Judy Pappenhagen
Donald & Ethel Parsons
Rebecca Lowe
Leland and Melva Ware
Claire and Mikki Snyder-Hall
Julia Keheler
Chuck and Janice Durante
Bethany Hall-Long