"The  Óscar Romero Award is given for truth and freedom... our guiding values. They imply justice and peace."
-Dominique de Menil, Rothko Chapel Co-Founder

Since 1986, the Rothko Chapel has given an Award to unsung heroes who are working under extraordinary circumstances to advance human rights. The Award includes a $20,000 unrestricted cash stipend given to the winner and/or organization.

The 2015 Óscar Romero Award will be the thirteenth such award given. As in the past, this Award holds the conviction that securing basic dignity and freedom for people worldwide requires that individuals and organizations challenge abuse from the grass roots.  


Who was Óscar Romero?

This Award is named in honor of Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, who was murdered on March 24, 1980 because of his opposition to violence and his courageous defense of the poor in his country of El Salvador. 

Why Óscar Romero?

Óscar Romero has become a symbol of the gaze not averted, the heart not stifled, the voice not silenced in the midst of oppression, death, torture, militarism and intimidation of many kinds. He is a symbol of something perhaps most important of all, a fundamental truth, that having come to knowledge of the sources of great wrong, truth requires a set of responses that will require pain but which suggests a moral journey that is inescapable.
- His Excellency Michael D. Higgins



What the Award means to those who have received it...

This award has given me confidence and has made me more consistent in my role as a human rights defender. It has helped me gain a political status that allows me to carry on denouncing violations and demanding recognition for our work.
— Blanca Velázquez, Director, Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, Mexico, 2013
This award represents a protection of human rights. It gives me more strength, ambition, and determination to continue on the path we have set for the creation of a state law in Algeria.
— Nassera Dutour, Founder, Collective for the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria and SOS Disparus, 2011
This award not only gave BVES critical financial support … but also the opportunity for me to advocate for additional security protections for our organization as we faced a multitude of threats and dangers.
— Dr. Namegabe Murhabazi, Director, Bureau pour le Volontariat au Service de l’Enfance et de la Santé, DRC, 2009