Thank you, Chairman [Roslyn] Brock, for this wonderful award – and thank you all for putting me in such great company tonight. I am honored and humbled to be included among this year’s award recipients, and I want to thank and congratulate my fellow awardees on the outstanding examples they have set. You are inspirations to us all – and credits to this distinguished organization.
Since its founding more than a century ago, the NAACP has stood at the forefront of the struggle for human rights. For the past six years – almost to the day – I have had the tremendous honor of leading a Department of Justice devoted to carrying on the progress, and preserving the legacy, with which today’s leaders have been entrusted.
From reforming our criminal justice system, to our efforts to combat hate crimes, to the work we’ve done to ensure equality for our fellow LGBT citizens, to our efforts to ensure the most sacred of American rights – the right to vote – I am proud of the work done by the men and women of this Department of Justice. But we must never grow complacent. And we cannot and must not be satisfied – until “justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
That’s why we gather tonight not merely to reflect on our progress, but to rededicate ourselves to the work that remains. To call on our nation to aim still higher, to become even better, and to reject the forces of hate and division in favor of the “beloved community” we have so long envisioned, and worked so hard to create.
As we do so, I want you to know that – although I will soon leave the Justice Department – I will never leave this work.
Going forward, I will continue to walk proudly alongside you, to continue the march toward social justice for all Americans, and to help build that brighter future – and more just society – that every American deserves.
I thank you all, once again, for this tremendous honor, for your strong leadership, and for your support over the years.
And I look forward to all that we’ll achieve together in the days ahead.