2015 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner

On Wednesday, May 13, 2015, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 social justice organizations, will come together for the 39th annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner at the Washington Hilton.


The Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award is the social justice community’s highest honor, awarded to outstanding individuals who, “through selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality,” best exemplify the spirit of Hubert H. Humphrey, U.S. vice president, senator and outspoken civil rights pioneer.


Each spring the award is bestowed at the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner. Past recipients include President William Clinton; Senator Patrick Leahy; Representative John Conyers; Representative John Lewis; Representative Connie Morella; civil rights champion Dr. Dorothy Height; disability rights advocates Justin Dart, Jr. and Tammy Duckworth; social justice leader Harry Belafonte; human rights advocate Danny Glover; labor leader Dolores Huerta; and fair lending and consumer advocate Martin Eakes, among others. The 2015 honorees were The Honorable Eric Holder, Laura Murphy, and Senator Bob Dole.

The annual dinner is the year’s largest gathering of the civil and human rights community—noted for bringing together members of both houses of Congress, officials from the Executive Branch, civil and human rights leaders, business leaders, educators, attorneys, and young people representing the next generation of civil and human rights advocates. More than 1,200 people attend the dinner annually. Known for its celebration of our nation’s diversity and commitment to equality, the event has been called “…the one dinner in Washington, D.C., where everyone has a seat at the table.”

Eric Holder

The Honorable Eric Holder has been a constant champion for full inclusion and equal justice under the law.  As a jurist, and most recently as a U.S. Attorney General, he has been a tireless voice for the rights and protections of those at the margins of society.  On so many issues—racial justice, fair sentencing, workplace rights, prosecution of hate crimes, economic justice, immigration policy and his unwavering support of voting rights—he has mirrored the values that lie at the heart of civil and human rights.  He also showed a profound ability to balance the importance of prosecuting the War on Terror with the vital need to honor and safeguard the personal freedoms that are a hallmark of our free society.

Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy is one of the nation’s foremost advocates for civil rights, human rights and civil liberties. As a community activist, lobbyist and long-time leader with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she has been second to none in underscoring the importance of coalition-building, bringing disparate voices to the table to advance social justice. The first woman and first African-American director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, she has been a leading voice for The Family Medical Leave Act, religious freedom, criminal justice, racial equality, LGBT rights and voting rights. As a board representative and task force chair, Laura has played a principal role in shaping The Leadership Conference’s strategic direction, charting the course for social and economic justice in the 21st century.

Senator Bob Dole

Senator Bob Dole has spent a lifetime in public service on behalf of the state of Kansas and our nation, exemplifying the spirit of his former Senate colleague Hubert Humphrey. His stellar military service, his leadership in Congress, and his continuing advocacy reflect his unwavering commitment to equality. In the House, he garnered bipartisan support for our country’s landmark civil rights legislation. His first speech as a senator, advocating for the rights of disabled persons, proved a harbinger of a Senate career devoted to the civil rights of all Americans. He remains an outspoken champion of the rights of veterans, voting rights, ending child hunger, and is a leading voice on behalf of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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.