10.23.19

Peters Introduces Legislation to Award Judge Damon Keith Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) introduced legislation to honor the life and legacy of Detroit native Judge Damon Keith by posthumously awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal. Judge Keith, who passed away on April 28th, 2019, overcame institutional barriers throughout the course of his over 50 year career to become an instrumental figure on the federal bench. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor award bestowed by Congress.

“Judge Damon Keith was a trailblazer for generations of legal professionals and civil rights activists both in Michigan and across the country,” said Senator Peters. “His rulings on numerous landmark civil rights cases and advocacy of civil liberties have made an indelible impact on the lives of countless Americans, and his legacy of exemplary public service is more than deserving of this honor.”

"A respected legal mind and civil rights icon, the Honorable Damon J. Keith is the epitome of an American hero and advocate for equal justice under the law,” said Ebonie Riley, Washington Bureau Chief, National Action Network. “For over 50 years, Judge Damon Keith not only carried out the law but worked tirelessly to make the system more just.  In the face of resistance, he left an indelible impact on some of America’s darkest times. His work will forever live on in Michigan and across the country, and we are proud that Senator Peters is honoring Judge Keith's with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Within the same spirit, National Action Network works to promote a modern civil rights agenda and amplifies his legacy to help communities enforce their civil rights."

“The National Urban League is proud to join the chorus of groups calling on Congress to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to the late Honorable Damon J. Keith of Michigan,” said Clint Odom, Senior Vice President for Policy & Advocacy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau, National Urban League. “His landmark decisions on voting rights, government oversight, and civil rights reflect the highest ideals of the equitable, honorable nation we strive to be. His life and work stand as an example of dignity, integrity and determination. As a civil rights organization, we strive to uphold his legacy.”

“After overcoming countless obstacles on his way to becoming an extraordinary jurist, Judge Keith helped tear down numerous barriers of discrimination for future generations,” said Spencer Overton, the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “His commitment to serving others will continue to inspire those fighting for justice, and we are proud to partner with Senator Peters on this celebration of Judge Keith’s life and his many contributions to our nation.”

Peters, along with fellow Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, introduced a resolution honoring Judge Keith’s career that was unanimously approved by the Senate this past May.

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