ST. LOUIS – Former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden received the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award last week at the St. Louis County NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner in St. Louis.
During his acceptance speech, Holden emphasized the need to improve communities the importance of providing everyone with an equal opportunity to succeed.
“My parents always told me to respect everybody, that nobody’s above you, and nobody should be below you,” Holden said. “Through that time and in college where I took up the aspirations of two people whose lives ended too quick, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, I made the decision that I wanted to enter public life.”
Holden had a short tenure as governor, from 2001 to 2005, but he’s still referred to as one of Missouri’s most prized statesman. He also worked to make his cabinet diverse during his governorship, bringing women and people of color into his inner circle, more so than any previous governor ever had. Holden joined the Missouri NAACP Executive Board in February of 2016.
Jimmy Loomis and John Gaskin III, both members of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP, organized the event which also saw several other public servants honored for their service toward the advancement of people of color. Among the Legacy Honorees was Missouri Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh.
Other Legacy Honorees included Vector Communications founder Laurna Godwin, the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Jason Hall, Bi-State Development Vice President Ken Franklin, and Principal Tina Scott-Clark of Jefferson Elementary School in the Normandy School District. Jackie Hill Crawford, a former employee for the St. Louis Public School District and longtime executive committee member of the St. Louis County Branch, was named the NAACP member of the year.
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a St. Louis native, was the keynote speaker at the event.