2011 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner

Media 05.30.17

The Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue
N.W. Washington, DC
Reception: 5:30 p.m. · Dinner: 7:00 p.m.  · Business Attire


On Thursday, May 12, 2011, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 social justice organizations, came together for the 35th annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner at the Washington Hilton, honoring the vision and leadership of social justice advocates Richard Trumka, Shirley Sherrod and Joe Solmonese.

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.

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2011 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and
Human Rights Award Honorees

Richard Trumka is the president of the AFL-CIO, America’s largest coalition of public and private sector labor unions, representing more than 12 million workers across the country. He also served for 15 years as the AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer. A coal miner from southwestern Pennsylvania, he worked his way up the ranks of the United Mineworkers, serving as their president for 14 years, during which time he advanced workers’ rights domestically and also established solidarity with South African mineworkers in their fight against apartheid. He has been a steadfast leader on issues ranging from health and safety to pay equity and economic justice. President Trumka’s organizing acumen has helped energize the American labor movement and counter efforts to weaken collective bargaining and workers’ rights at the state and national levels.
Shirley Sherrod is a nationally known activist working on issues of economic justice and racial disparity. Hailing from rural Georgia, her work for social justice and equality began early in her life. She became involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during its heyday in the early 1960s. She has worked on behalf of African-American farmers, helping to build assets and wealth among a historically dispossessed group. Working with her husband Charles Sherrod, she formed New Communities, Inc., a model community land trust that eventually became the largest tract of African-American owned land in the United States. Her work in farmland preservation and asset building led her to work with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and then to a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which she held until 2010. Ms. Sherrod remains committed to seeking justice for America’s historically marginalized farmers, and fighting against bigotry in all its forms.
Joe Solmonese is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, one of America’s largest organizations dedicated to fighting for the civil and human rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Mr. Solmonese has helped build the Human Rights Campaign into one of the nation’s most powerful progressive lobbying organizations, with a current membership of more than 750,000. A member of the executive committee of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, he is a consummate coalition builder, standing at the vanguard on a range of legislative victories including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009 and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010. Mr. Solmonese has played a vital role in shifting public opinion to build the LGBT community’s presence in corporate, education, and faith-based environments across the nation.

Hubert H. Humphrey

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.

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