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Lawyers’ Committee to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 with Two Days of Special Events – June 3-4, New York, NY

For Immediate Release May 28, 2015

Lawyers’ Committee to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 with Two Days of Special Events – June 3-4, New York, NY

Honorees Include Toyota and James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America; Former U.S. Attorney General, the Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.; Noted Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray; and Acclaimed Stage and Screen Actor David Oyelowo CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller to Serve as Emcee; Special Guests Include Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2015 The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s (Lawyers’ Committee) 2015 A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award Events, themed, “The Destiny of Democracy:  We Shall Overcome”, will be held in New York City June 3-4, 2015.  These events will celebrate the transformative impact of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, of the most effective civil rights achievements in U.S. history. The law protects the constitutional voting rights of all citizens after nearly a century of open resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment which declares that “the right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of race, color or pervious condition of servitude.”

The events include a gala black-tie dinner on June 4th at the Marriott Marquis honoring Toyota and James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, for diversity and inclusion efforts and accomplishments (Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award); the Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr., former U.S. attorney general (Robert F. Kennedy Justice Prize); civil rights attorney Fred Gray (Pillar of Justice Award); and acclaimed stage and screen actor David Oyelowo (Distinguished Civil Rights Advocate Award).  Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was formally recognized during last year’s dinner for carrying her families’ legacy of justice forward, will be in attendance.  CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller will serve as emcee and the Lawyers’ Committee’s inaugural Jerry Shestack fellow will be announced.

On June 3rd, the Young Lawyers’ Committee will host an intimate discussion with the Honorable Judge Damon J. Keith, celebrated judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Judge Keith will also discuss his new book, “Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith”, which explores his path to the federal bench, important influences, and major cases.

Also on June 3rd, the Lawyers’ Committee, in partnership with New York City Bar Association, and the State Bar of New York, will host a special “Talk Back” with legendary civil rights attorney Fred Gray followed by a panel discussion regarding the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 moderated by distinguished journalist Linda Greenhouse.

 

June 3, 2015

What

10 – 11:30 a.m. ET
Young Lawyers’ Committee’s “Conversation Over Coffee” with the Honorable Judge Damon Keith, civil rights hero, community leader and sixth circuit federal judge. He will also discuss his new book, “Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith” (a book signing will follow this forum).

4 – 6 p.m. ET
Legendary civil rights attorney Fred Gray, is the featured speaker for a special “Talk Back” forum followed by a panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the Landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 moderated by Linda Greenhouse, distinguished journalist.

Panelists Include:

  • Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director Voting Rights Project
    Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Wayne Dawkins, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communications
    Hampton University
  • Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation
    National Council of La Raza
  • Myrna Pérez, Deputy Director
    Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
  • Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel
    NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Where

New York City Bar Association, 42 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

 

June 4, 2015

What

6 p.m. Reception; 7 p.m. Gala, Black-Tie Dinner
A Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award Dinner, “The Destiny of Democracy:  We Shall Overcome” Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965

  • Emcee:  Michelle Miller, CBS News Correspondent
  • Special Guest: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Honoring:

  • Toyota and James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America (Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award)
  • Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr., Former U.S. Attorney General (Robert F. Kennedy Justice Prize)
  • Civil rights Attorney Fred Gray (Pillar of Justice Award)
  • Acclaimed Stage and Screen Actor David Oyelowo (Distinguished Civil Rights Advocate Award)

Where

New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

Members of the media interested in covering any events should contact Stacie Royster, Lawyers’ Committee at(202) 445-6101 or [email protected] by noon on June 1st.

The prestigious Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award, named in honor of Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., a pioneering civil rights advocate, author and federal appeals court judge, was established in 2000.   Past honorees include: DuPont; J.P. Morgan Chase and J.P. Morgan Chase Investment Bank; McDonald’s; Aetna Inc.; BellSouth Corporation; Citigroup Inc.; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Fannie Mae; General Electric Company; Microsoft Corporation; The New York Times Company; PepsiCo, Inc.; Qualcomm, Inc.; Time Warner, Inc. and United Parcel Service.

About The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers' Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.

For more information about the Lawyers' Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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