U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-California), a rising figure in American politics, will give the keynote address at the 83rd Annual Freedom Fund Leadership Dinner of the St. Louis County NAACP chapter. She is being recognized with the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other honorees receiving awards include Jason Kander, founder of Let America Vote and former Missouri Secretary of State. He will receive the Medgar Wiley Evers Freedom Award.
Harris rose to national prominence in 2016 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming just the second African-American woman and the first South Asian–American senator in U.S. history. But she had already spent decades fighting for the rights of Californians.
Harris’ background is in criminal justice. She served nearly two terms as California’s attorney general after completing two terms as district attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. Previously she was an assistant district attorney in Alameda County, California. She grew up during the Civil Rights movement and has dedicated her career in public service to advocating for those who cannot defend themselves.
“We are honored to have Sen. Harris coming to St. Louis to speak at this historic event and be honored with the coveted Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award. Sen. Harris’ career as a public servant exhibits some of the most valuable traits of Margaret Bush Wilson’s legacy. Her deep commitment to criminal justice reform, climate justice, and equitable access to quality and affordable health care are all aspects of her robust dedication to the citizens of California that we both admire and commend,” said Esther J. Haywood, president of the St. Louis County NAACP chapter.
“Senator Harris is one of our nation’s most accomplished and effective African-American female elected officials. Her work as a prosecutor and senator are true examples to young women and girls that aspire to serve their communities. Sen. Harris’ historic accomplishments make her more than deserving of this high honor,” said John Gaskin III, dinner chairman for the Freedom Fund Leadership Dinner.
More than 1,200 community leaders gather each June at the Freedom Fund Leadership Dinner to celebrate the achievements of America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization and to honor the public and private citizens who support diversity, inclusion, social justice and the advancement of civil rights across Missouri.
Tickets for the dinner can be purchased by phone at 314-366-1688 or online at http://naacpstlcounty.org/tickets.
Previous recipients of the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award include journalist Wolf Blitzer, U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Maxine Waters, U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, and retired President and CEO of the Urban League of Metro St. Louis James Buford.
Margaret Bush Wilson (1919–2009) was an attorney and pioneering civil rights advocate. She served on the legal team that, in 1948, won a U.S. Supreme Court verdict that barred states from enforcing whites-only home covenants. She was elected president of the St. Louis NAACP chapter, president of the Missouri NAACP State Conference and chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors.