WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The LBJ Foundation on Tuesday November 18 will award its most prestigious prize, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, to Congressman John Dingell and Senator Carl Levin, two remarkable lawmakers who epitomize LBJ's legacy and honor his dream for the American people.
"Over a combined 93 years serving the American people in the Congress, Senator Levin and Congressman Dingell have distinguished themselves as great defenders of Americans' civil liberties. They embody the beliefs that President Johnson held dear—that every citizen should share in the benefits of the privileges and protections that lie at the heart of the American dream," said Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation.
Congressman Dingell, who first was elected to the House of Representatives in 1955, is the longest serving member of the House and a dedicated champion of social justice. Through his history-making career, the Michigan lawmaker has influenced the passage of some of the most important legislation of the past half century, including Medicare, the Clean Air Act Amendments and the Affordable Care Act. His unwavering commitment to justice is exemplified by his support for federal hate-crime legislation, reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and comprehensive immigration reform. The Congressman also stood aside President Johnson as he signed the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"I consider my votes to advance the Civil Rights movement throughout the '50s and '60s among the most important votes I've cast in my 58 years in the House of Representatives," Congressman Dingell said.
Senator Levin, the longest-serving Senator in Michigan history, is a leader in bipartisanship and the distinguished Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has dedicated his career to exposing injustices and has long advocated for quality, affordable educational opportunities for all Americans. He actively took on modern-day civil rights issues such as the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and same-sex marriage, and supported the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the creation of the Affordable Care Act and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. From the first piece of legislation he introduced – a bill to end discrimination by credit card companies – Senator Levin has spoken up for working families and worked to build an America that lives up to the ideals of its founders.
Evoking President Johnson's 1965 "We Shall Overcome" speech, Senator Levin recently said, "If we can't ensure that all Americans have access to higher education, we shut off access to the American dream."
The LBJ Foundation will honor Congressman Dingell and Senator Levin at a gala on November 18 at the Newseum in Washington. Guest speakers will be Admiral William H. McRaven, incoming Chancellor of the University of Texas System, Congressman John Lewis, the inaugural recipient of the LBJ Liberty and Justice for All Award, and Senator Jack Reed. The master of ceremonies will be Bob Schieffer, CBS journalist and host of Face the Nation. Proceeds from the event will support the new LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center, admitting its inaugural class in the fall of 2015.
LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award
The LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award is the vision of Lyndon Baines Johnson's presidency and the transformative laws that gave it life. President Johnson devoted his life to creating a nation of justice and liberty, where everyone had the opportunity to rise, and those in need would not fail. His legislative achievements shaped the next half century of our national history, and his legacy endures to benefit future generations of Americans -- the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, Job Corps, the Clean Air Act, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities, and many more. The award is given to an individual who personifies President Johnson's mission and demonstrates qualities of civility and bipartisanship. Previous recipients are Congressman John Lewis and President George H. W. Bush.
LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center
The LBJ School of Public Affairs, among the top graduate public affairs schools in the nation, is creating the LBJ Washington Center to prepare a new generation of national leaders. The Center also will provide a platform for elevating the LBJ School and The University of Texas in policy discourse and debate at the national level. Through a unique 18-month federal policy curriculum, the LBJ Washington Center will provide students with domestic and international policy interests who wish to establish a career in Washington the extraordinary opportunity of living, working and earning a degree in our nation's capital.
The LBJ Foundation is a non-profit organization that was created by President and Mrs. Johnson to support the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Through the fundraising efforts of its Board of Trustees, the Foundation provides support to the Library that enhances quality programming, expands educational outreach and exhibits, and administers grants for researchers and scholars. The Foundation supports the LBJ School in the outstanding education that it provides its graduate students in public policy and governmental affairs, community outreach, and the exploration of global initiatives. One looks to the past and the other to the future, providing an ongoing legacy for President Johnson's accomplishments and his vision for our nation.
SOURCE Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation