6th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Luncheon on Jan. 12, 2018

February 20, 2018

Chuck Nichols: Senator Anderson has been someone who will stand up for people when they deserve to be recognized. He’s known to be a collaborative legislator reaching across the aisle.

He’s widely recognized as a tireless advocate of the needs of California veterans. Indeed, five prestigious veterans’ groups have recognized him for his unwavering dedication by bestowing upon him their award as legislator of the year. That includes the American Veterans, American Legion, the VFW, California State Commander’s Veterans Council, Vietnam Veterans of America California State Council, all of those recognized Senator Anderson.

Pierre Frazier: We’re also recognizing the work and dedication of Senator Joel Anderson. Today, the Senator will be presented the Bridge-Builder award. This honor is bestowed to someone who has demonstrated leadership and courage supporting diversity and inclusion. He worked to have the three-mile section of Highway 15 named after Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The passing of Senate Bill 336, the bill provides for assistance for men and women wrongly convicted and jailed for crimes they did not commit.

I understand you met with some opposition and resistance on both of these ethics. Good works will always prevail. I’m sure you’re aware that leadership is not always a popularity contest. We encourage you to continue your work and efforts for diversity and inclusion.

Sen. Anderson: While I humbly accept this award today, and I’m appreciative of all those who made this happen, this should not be the exception to the rule, this should be the rule. As a society, we all have a responsibility to tell the story to future generations of Americans. We must tell them how the Tuskegee Airmen risked their lives to defend the promise of America even when the America they too often experienced did not live up to that promise that they were fighting for.

While I don’t pretend to fully understand the experience of the Tuskegee Airmen, I do believe that what we can learn from them is this:  over the course of its history, America has often failed to live up to its promises. But that promise is still worth fighting for – whether it’s in the skies of Europe, or on the bridges in Selma – the idea of America is worth fighting for is still alive.

God bless the Tuskegee airmen. Thank you all for allowing me to share this story and thank you for the privilege of this award. God bless you all.