(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
The ACLU Freedom Concert, a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union, which raised more than $300,000, was held on October 4 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Produced by composer Philip Glass, the evening featured an eclectic range of music and spoken word performances by Mos Def, Robin Williams, Paul Simon, Richard Gere, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Wyclef Jean, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Lila Downs, Jessica Lange, Philip Glass, Tony Kushner, Sarah Jones, Nanci Griffith, Edie Brickell and The Black Keys.
The actors performed creative monologues and sketches on landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that have affected civil liberties. In his own unique style, Williams gave a hilarious and thoughtful performance as he read excerpts from the 2003 Lawrence V. Texas decision striking down a state sodomy law. Lange delivered a moving monologue on the 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling on abortion while Kushner performed a sketch with Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sandra Day O’Connor about the Court’s rulings on affirmative action.
"The ACLU is proud to have the support of such great artists who are willing — and in this time of censorship, brave enough — to donate their time to celebrate our freedom of expression," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "As Americans, we all have the right, and the obligation, not to remain silent when our liberties are threatened." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen