Diddy Honored By NAACP

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) recently honored three extraordinary individuals for their commitment to democracy and voting rights at its annual 2005 National Equal Justice Award Dinner (NEJAD). Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), Johnson Publishing Company President Linda Johnson Rice, and producer Sean “Diddy� Combs, were applauded by some 500 guests at the Hilton New York & Towers. “We are proud to honor these 21st century advocates of democracy,� said LDF Director-Counsel and President Theodore M. Shaw. “Their combined efforts have helped to change the political, economic and cultural landscapes of America and brought the nation closer to realizing its democratic ideals.�

LDF presented the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award to Congressman John Lewis, (D-Ga.) for his continuing leadership and commitment to the civil rights movement. Linda Johnson Rice was recognized for continuing the legacy of entrepreneurship and communications pioneered by her late father, John H. Johnson. A special award was presented to Sean “Diddyâ€? Combs for his innovative efforts to register voters and engage America’s youth in the democratic process.       

This year’s event coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. LDF played a major role in securing its passage of the law which is considered the most important tool to foster participatory democracy.

The 2005 NEJAD underscored LDF’s efforts to educate the public about the need for reauthorization and the importance of renewing and restoring provisions that are scheduled to expire in 2007.

LDF is the nation’s preeminent civil rights legal organization. It was founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, the renowned civil rights attorney and first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Although LDF works primarily through the courts, its strategies include advocacy, educational outreach, monitoring of activity in the executive and legislative branches, coalition building and policy research.

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