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Hawks set to receive Anti-Defamation League award for supporting democracy

The Hawks have previously opened up State Farm Arena as a voting location in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — The Hawks will receive an award Thursday night from the Anti-Defamation League recognizing their efforts to support democracy in Georgia.

The Hawks have previously opened up State Farm Arena as a voting location in Atlanta, and the ADL's Torch of Liberty Award will be presented to the team and CEO Steve Koonin at City Winery.

“We are thrilled to recognize the Hawks and Steve Koonin as pillars in our community,” Dr. Allison Padilla-Goodman, the vice president of ADL’s Southern Division in Atlanta, said in a statement. “The Hawks took corporate social responsibility to a whole new level, and their organization has worked diligently to support our democracy and provide voting access."

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Padilla-Goodman added that the "impact of the Hawks’ and Steve Koonin’s involvement in voting rights embodies ADL’s work of fighting hate for good and securing a peaceful climate where all voices are heard and bigotry is unwelcome.”

According to a release, State Farm Arena served to help see more than 50,000 votes cast during the 2020 election cycle. 

Hedy Rubinger, the co-chair of the 2022 Torch of Liberty Award celebration, said that the team was able to "set the precedent across the National Basketball Association (NBA) to open their arena as a voting precinct, and that action reverberated across the country."

Koonin, the Hawks' CEO, said that "being able to enable residents of all different backgrounds, ethnicities and socioeconomic means in Fulton County to exercise their constitutional right to vote in a safe and efficient manner at State Farm Arena was the ultimate realization of our goal of being a community asset."

"The right to vote and make change will always be critical to our democracy; we were honored that we could assist our community in doing their patriotic duty," Koonin added.

The right to vote and make change will always be critical to our democracy; we were honored that we could assist our community in doing their patriotic duty.”   

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