Governor Jerry Brown Tells Gathering at Black Caucus MLK, Jr Celebration That Education Is a Civil Rights Issue

January 24, 2011

Sacramento, CA – Governor Jerry Brown declared education a Civil Rights issue before 600 people attending the annual MLK, Jr. Civil Rights Legacy and Leadership Awards Breakfast hosted by the California Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday, Jan. 20th at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

"We take from redevelopment and we put $1 billion into schools – that's a good thing," Brown said. "We've got to make sure whatever we do, we give a chance to those who are coming along in the next generation. And that is a Civil Rights issue. He added that the residents of California “have to find the “collective will to invest in our kids and our environment,”

Governor Brown was enthusiastically received by the gathering that included hundreds of community leaders and dozens of elected officials, including Attorney General Kamala Harris, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and former Speaker Willie Brown, Jr.

Governor Brown’s remarks underscored the thrust of the Caucus under its new chair, State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. (D-Los Angeles) who has assumed the sponsorship of several Capitol youth leadership, internships and scholarship programs designed to introduce them  to government.

Senator Price presented the Governor with the Caucus’ Leadership and Courage Award calling him a “Civil Rights legend in his own right, responsible for enacting important Civil Rights in California.

“When Brown served as Governor from 1974-1982, he appointed more women, Asians, Latinos and African-Americans to high government positions than any other chief executive,” said Senator Price. “He also appointed more than 200 women and minority judges, including the first African American and Latino to the California Supreme Court and the first openly gay judge to the bench.”

“Governor Brown also established the nation’s first anti-redlining measure, created the first Agricultural Labor Relations Board and signed legislation that allowed for collective bargaining by state workers.

Senator Price told the crowd that the Caucus was committed to continue the work for economic and social justice that Dr. King lived and died for. “The struggle continues,” Price said.

Also being honored at the breakfast was Linda Crayton, Senior Regional Director/Government Affairs for Comcast Corporation, who received the Corporate Community Advocacy Award. Areva D. Martin, Co-Founder and President of the Special Needs Network, received the Civil Rights Leadership Award.

Fredricka McGee, Esq., counsel to Speaker John A. Perez and Regina Evans, Esq., chief of staff to Board of Equalization Member Jerome E. Horton, received the Distinguished Government Service Award.