Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to Honor Julian Bond, Ginny Thornburgh & Senator Tom Daschle This Wednesday

Media 05.2.05

Washington, D.C. – This Wednesday, May 4th, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, will present its 2005 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award to Julian Bond, Ginny Thornburgh and Senator Tom Daschle. The honorees and LCCR leaders will be available to the press during a reception at 5:30 p.m.

“This year’s honorees have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of civil rights,” said LCCR Executive Director Wade Henderson. “Each one, in his or her own way, has helped lead the fight to end discrimination and ensure equality for all. It is particularly fitting that they receive the Humphrey Award, which is the civil rights community’s highest honor.”

“We are proud to confer the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award to Julian Bond, Ginny Thornburgh and Senator Tom Daschle,” said Karen McGill Lawson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. “Their record of achievement and continuing commitment to the cause of civil and human rights follows the path paved by Hubert Humphrey.”

Julian Bond
Ever since his college days leading peaceful protests to desegregate Atlanta’s lunch counters and other establishments, Julian Bond has been in the front ranks of the fight for civil rights. Elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, he was prevented from taking his seat because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was seated only after the U.S Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Georgia House had violated Bond’s rights in refusing him his seat. In 1968, Bond was co-chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation to the Democratic Convention, challengers who were successful in unseating Georgia’s regular Democrats. Bond was nominated for Vice President of the United States, the first black person to be so nominated by a major political party, though he ultimately withdrew his name because he was too young to serve. Currently, Mr. Bond is Board Chairman of the NAACP and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, D.C., and a professor in the history department at the University of Virginia.

Ginny Thornbugh
Ginny Thornburgh has been a relentless champion of equal opportunities for people with disabilities. She is the founder of and for 15 years has directed the Religion and Disability Program of the National Organization on Disability. The Religion and Disability Program works with local congregations, national faith groups, and seminaries to remove barriers of architecture, communications, and attitudes that prevent people with disabilities from full and active religious participation. Thornburgh travels around the country, visiting congregations and suggesting simple changes that would make them more accessible to individuals with disabilities. In 1998, NOD launched the Accessible Congregations Campaign, with an initial goal of enrolling 2,000 congregations of all faiths that commit to removing their barriers and welcoming people with all types of disabilities. That goal was achieved on May 3, 2001 when the name of the 2,000th congregation was announced at a Washington, DC press conference. Thornburgh and her husband, former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, are the parents of a son with developmental disabilities. Their son, who now lives and works in Harrisburg, PA, has served as an inspiration for their efforts to maximize opportunities for persons with disabilities in America’s communities, workplaces, schools and congregations.

Senator Tom Daschle
Serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate for 26 years, Senator Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority and Minority Leader, has been a strong voice for social justice. Despite leading the minority in the Senate, Daschle was able to build coalitions in support of affirmative action, election reform, education programs, immigrants’ rights, expanded health care, and national action in favor of anti-hate crime legislation. He was also a strong advocate for legislation protecting the rights of American Indians. Involved in politics or public service nearly his entire life, Daschle, while a student at South Dakota State University, helped organize a mock political convention, using the 1968 Democratic National Convention as a model. Now a private citizen, Daschle plans to continue to advocate for the issues he cares about, including the concerns of American Indians, health care, and the global AIDS crisis.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights provides a powerful unified voice for the various constituencies of the civil and human rights coalition in the United States: persons of color, women, children, individuals with disabilities, gays and lesbians, older Americans, labor unions, major religious groups and civil liberties and human rights groups. Today, more than 60 million persons belong to the 180 organizations that form LCCR.

The Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner is eagerly anticipated each year and is known for attracting people from all walks of life – members of both houses of Congress, officials from the Executive Branch, business leaders, educators, and young people representing the next generation of civil and human rights advocates.