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November 5, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, November 5, 2015 - The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) named Covington partner and former US Attorney General Eric Holder as the recipient of its Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his lifelong efforts to advance civil rights.
LDF recognized Mr. Holder for his work at the US Department of Justice to fight against efforts to roll back the Civil Rights Act and to end discriminatory policing practices nationwide. As Attorney General, Mr. Holder used Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to block Texas’ voter identification law and to soften a similar law in South Carolina, and his team pursued other inequitable voting laws with Section 2 of the VRA, expanding the understanding of how the VRA can be used to protect voters’ rights. He also initiated and led investigations into policing practices across the country and identified specific racial disparities in Ferguson and Cleveland after police shootings in those communities.
“There is no one more deserving of the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award at this critical juncture of opportunity and urgency in the pursuit of racial justice than Eric Holder,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill. “During his tenure as Attorney General, he set the bar for what it means to be the nation’s advocate for all people to ensure their equal place in our democracy.”
LDF also announced the establishment of the Eric H. Holder, Jr. Fellowship that will help the organization recruit diverse law students who want to confront civil rights issues. Mr. Holder served as a legal intern with LDF while attending Columbia Law School.
In remarks at LDF’s 75th Anniversary National Equal Justice Award Dinner, Mr. Holder said, “Every generation is tested and called upon to make real the promise of our democracy, and so it is for this generation. With concerted action, perseverance and faith in each other the creation of a beloved community is within our grasp.”
LDF is America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.