On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 social justice organizations, came together for the 36th annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner at the Washington Hilton.
The Humphrey Award, the social justice community’s highest honor, is presented annually to outstanding individuals who best exemplify Senator Humphrey’s “selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality” – an honor roll, which, over the years, has included President William Clinton; Representative John Lewis; Senator Patrick Leahy; Representative Connie Morella; Senator Tom Daschle; civil rights champion Dr. Dorothy Height; disability advocate Tammy Duckworth; director Steven Spielberg; actor and activist Danny Glover; FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair; and labor leader Dolores Huerta, among others.
The year’s largest gathering of the civil and human rights community, the dinner brings together a who’s who in social justice – members of the Executive Branch, both houses of Congress, business leaders, educators, civil and human rights leaders, and the next generation of social justice advocates.
Representative Barney Frank currently serves as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee. He has represented Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District since 1980. As chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services from 2007-2011, he advanced the most important and badly-needed overhaul of consumer protection and financial regulatory law in decades. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the law, in particular, is essential to helping all Americans – particularly those in communities of color – to rebuild and move forward after the devastation of the nation’s housing crisis. Representative Frank has long been a champion of the civil and human rights community on issues ranging from immigration, gay rights, civil liberties, economic justice, and fair housing.
Janet Murguía is the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. She is a national leader on issues ranging from immigration reform to fair housing to education equity. Hailing from Kansas City, Kansas, Murguía worked as a staffer in Congress and then in the Clinton White House before joining NCLR in 2005. In her time at NCLR, Murguía has focused on promoting fair, accurate, and balanced portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry, working with corporate America to advance diversity in the workplace, developing alliances with other civil and human rights organizations, and building Latino empowerment through civic engagement and voting.
Hubert H. Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey’s deep commitment and dedication to social justice are legendary. He devoted his life to public service in the cause of equality. Elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945, he quickly ascended to the national political scene. Addressing racial discrimination and anti-Semitism in Minneapolis in 1948, he was responsible for the city enacting the nation’s first municipal fair employment legislation. That same year, amid fierce debate on the direction of civil rights, he delivered a fiery speech at the Democratic National Convention and spurred the Democratic Party to add a civil rights plank to their platform. From 1949-1964, he served from Minnesota as one of the nation’s most distinguished U.S. senators and was pivotal in the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling its passage “one of the landmarks of my life.” Elected vice president of the United States in 1964, Hubert Humphrey continued his selfless advocacy for equality in a free, plural and democratic society. In 1971, Humphrey resumed his senatorial career. In 1974, he introduced the ambitious Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and National Growth bill, the first attempt at full employment legislation, which eventually passed after his death in 1978. This final legislative achievement stood as a symbol of Humphrey’s undying commitment to “the humanitarian goals of the New Deal.
As a testament to his exemplary leadership on civil and human rights, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award was established by The Leadership Conference in 1977.