Holder received CBCF Chair’s Award, “presented to an individual whose work and accomplishments stand as a role model for the African-American community,” the foundation’s press release said.
“I want to thank you for your support during my little dust-up,” Holder told the audience, which included the 42 Democratic members of the caucus and their families, among more than 1,000 attendees at the event. It was an apparent reference to the Republican vote to hold him in contempt of congress over the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking program, an investigation for which Holder was cleared this week.
Much of Holder’s speech focused n voting rights, however, and on his vision of his role as the nation’s top cop.
“We have not fully reached the promised land,” Holder said during his acceptance speech, noting the continued struggles Americans face in “advocating for the most vulnerable members of society,” and in seeking fairness, reducing violence and protecting voting rights.
“We cannot allow this era to mark the beginning of a reversal of progress,” Holder said, adding, “we will not allow the voting eights of citizens to be impinged by those making specious arguments or seeking political advantage.”
“This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue. And let me be clear: as long as I am the attorney general of the United States, the right to vote will be protected,” Holder said to applause.
The other honorees Saturday were Charlotte, North Carolina’s first black mayor, Harvey Gantt, fresh from the successful Democratic convention held in his city; Florida Rep. Corinne Brown, who gave a fiery speech lambasting everything from restrictive voting laws to the 2000 election and the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision.
The gala was the closing event for the CBCF’s 42nd annual legislative conference. First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote speech for the event.
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