Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, 64, received the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Equal Justice Award Dinner Wednesday night in New York. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund heralded his work to correct injustices, in particular his investigations into racial disparities in policing in Ferguson and Cleveland after the deaths of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.
Holder, who held his first law internship with the Legal Defense Fund while he studied at Columbia Law School, spoke with The Huffington Post about the personal significance of the award.
"This is a night for recognition and reflection but it's also a night for recommitment," Holder told HuffPost. "There are still issues that we have to deal with and I think it's good to take opportunities like this to remind people of that and to make sure we stay engaged. The battle's not over with yet."
Holder, now a partner at Washington, D.C.'s Covington and Burling, LLP, said a part of that battle is to "keep pushing" to correct the inequities in this country.
"Be loud, disrupting every now and again," Holder told HuffPost. "You got to be smart in the way you use your tactics but make sure the issues of the movement are ones that politicians and the public at large have to confront."
The Legal Defense Fund, founded by Thurgood Marshall in 1940, is America's first civil and human rights law firm. In a press release, Sherrilyn Ifill, the organization's president, said she was elated to present Holder this award for his longstanding advocacy work.
“Holder’s important contributions to civil rights law and enforcement came at a critical time in the fight for racial justice in this country," Ifill said in the statement. "His judgment, vision, and leadership will endure.”
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