Civil Rights Award Given to Soledad O'Brien

Soledad, Edward Norton & Patricia Rouse
PHOTO: http://flickr.com/photos/civilrights/

Each year, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights presents the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, celebrating the legacy of the former vice president, senator and civil rights pioneer. Devoted to public service in the cause of equality, Hubert Humphrey's years of public service, leadership and dedication to equal opportunity changed the face of America. He was a tireless advocate who led the fight for passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Award is the civil rights community's highest honor, saluting individuals or organizations that best exemplify Vice President Humphrey's legacy of "selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality." The annual dinner, LCCR's principal fundraiser, is noted for bringing together people from all walks of life — members of both houses of Congress, officials from the Executive Branch, business leaders, educators, attorneys and young people representing the next generation of civil and human rights advocates.

2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, a cornerstone of civil rights legislation.

Wade Henderson, president of LCCR, said "Representative Conyers’ advocacy for the Act and its amendments, Patricia Rouse's unflagging efforts to support fair housing, and Soledad O'Brien's pivotal role in telling the stories of Katrina's homeless make these honors all the more fitting. We have much further to go on the road to housing equality, and our honorees are among those who are leading
the way. Our nation's minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised have no stronger advocates than this year's Humphrey Awardees."

Soledad O’Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN's Special Investigations Unit, delivering in-depth reports on current events and showing the human face of those affected by critical social and economic developments. Her highly acclaimed documentary of Martin Luther King offered fresh investigative insights regarding his writings and his life's work. Ms. O'Brien has been lauded for sharing with America the personal stories of people caught up in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane and the related housing shortage; the Southeast Asia tsunami; and the contested vote counts of 2004. As CNN point-person during President George W. Bush's visit to Mexico, she delivered a series of eye-opening reports on conditions that are fueling the immigration crisis. Her objective and far-reaching coverage of topical issues has contributed to the dialogue over countless civil and human rights issues.

Representative John Conyers has served in the House since 1964, representing Michigan’s 14th District. A leader throughout our nation’s civil rights struggles and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Conyers has been a relentless voice for equality and equal opportunity. He has fought to protect working families, ensure equal pay for women and minorities, increase the minimum wage, address hate crimes and violence against women, and promote meaningful enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. A champion of health care reform, he is leading the fight to ensure that every American, regardless of income, employment status, or race, has access to quality, affordable health care.

Patricia Rouse, as the co-founder of Enterprise Community Partners, has been a tireless advocate for fair and affordable housing, paving the way for countless low-income families to move from poverty to the mainstream of American life. She was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the Commission on National and Community Service, has been a board member of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing and served on many Maryland and national boards of organizations dedicated to equality and opportunity in housing.
In the spirit of the Leadership Conference, she is a coalition builder, forging strong partnerships with diverse stakeholders to protect the poor, working class families, the homeless, the elderly and those displaced by natural disasters.

via http://civilrights.org/about/lccr/humphrey/about_dinner.html

1 comment:

t_dorai@hotmail.com said...

I congratulate Soledad O"brien for all her accomplishments, particularly her work on the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr, which I see on CNN whenever it is shown. It is a masterpiece documentary giving a rare look at the MLK papers, manuscripts and handwritten most of the times on scrap papers. Those words have in fact changed this country forever. But I want to emphasize here is the influence Mahatma Gandhi made on MLK's life and thinking. While the references were made at the end of the documentary about Gandhi's life and teachings, I do not think the documentary brings up the significance of Gandhi's non-violent teachings that was responsible for the birth of a nation (India) without firing a bullet. It was so ironic that Gandhi was killed by a bullet in a violent way. If I am not mistaken, it was MLK who said in front of Gandhi's tomb when he visited India that " many Americans come here as tourists, but I come here as a pilgrim". I would have appreciated the documentary more if Soledad had expanded more on the significance of Gandhian non-violent thought and emphasized that MLK was a student of this thought. Perhaps it would be fitting for Soledad if she does a similar TV interview/documentary on the life and works of the Mahatma and how his teachings influenced MLK. The US has a lot to learn from the timeless non-violent teachings of Gandhi which are relevant even to-day. But ironically, we in the US do not appreciate fully the significance of Gandhi's contributions. Many in the US do not even know who Gandhi was. I must say that American kids' (and adults') knowledge of international history and geography is not that great. Perhaps it would be a good idea for people in the US to see the movie "Gandhi", directed by Sir Richard Attenborough. Isn't it ironical that the student (MLK) received the Nobel Prize for Peace and the teacher (Gandhi) did not? Does Soledad know that it was the British Government , at Churchill's instructions, prevented the Nobel Committee from giving the Peace Prize to Gandhi? While I certainly appreciate the masterful documentary about MLK, we should keep in mind that MLK would possibly have not accomplished whatever he had accomplished without following Gandhian teachings and philosophy.