Sacramento – More than 500 people attended the California Legislative Black Caucus’ annual Civil Rights Leadership Awards Breakfast honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at the Holiday Inn in Sacramento.
The keynote address was given by Bishop Albert Galbraith, jurisdictional Prelate, Northern CA First Jurisdiction and Pastor of the North Highlands Community Church of God in Christ. “We all came over here on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now,” he told the audience.
Curren Price, Chair of CLBC, revisited Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign in his remarks, urging the crowd to continue King’s quest for economic justice. “We are joining President Pro Tem Steinberg in asking the Governor to hold off on his proposed budget cuts that will hurt schools, the sick and the working poor until the budget initiative is voted on,” Price said. “We have got to preserve the safety net.”
To celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, the Caucus honored individuals who share Dr. King's commitment to work for the betterment of African Americans and others throughout California and the nation.
Former Congressman, Lt. Governor, State Senator and Assembly member Mervyn M. Dymally received the Living Legend Award. A moving video tribute spanning his nearly six decades of activism and public service was also unveiled for the first time.
Mr. Dymally is considered the “God Father” of African American politicians in California,” said Senator Curren D, Price, Jr., Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. “He has broken down so many barriers and mentored so many legislators, Black and non-Black, that we would be remiss not to honor him for opening up the doors that we now walk through.”
Dymally officially established the Caucus in 1967 to represent the concerns for the African American community and provide a collective political force for creating a more just and equitable society.
Alice Huffman, president of the State NAACP said that people working in the Capitol today could learn from Dymally’s style of getting “significant things done quietly.”
Governor Jerry Brown called Dymally “one of the legends of California political history and one of the first African Americans to become prominent in our state politics. “He was in the forefront fighting the battle for Civil Rights, economic development and mentoring so many young people who came after him.”
Additionally, Timothy Simon, Public Utilities Commissioner, received the Civil Rights Leadership Award; the California Black Health Network received the Community Advocacy Award. The Caucus also honored former Senator Teresa Hughes, posthumously.
Robbin Coaxum-Lewis, Chief of Staff to Assembly member Amina Carter and Larry Broussard, Chief of Staff to Assembly member Sandre Swanson received the Distinguished Government Service Award.