Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you, John, for that introduction. And, thank you for your outstanding leadership as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
It is a privilege to join you and so many other distinguished members of the Justice Department family in celebrating today’s award recipients. I also want to welcome the proud family members and friends who are here today. Your support is essential to the success of our honorees.
I always welcome the opportunity to attend any event that features the singing of Dorothy Williams. Thank you, Dorothy, for adding your special touch to this and so many other Department events.
And I am grateful to Loretta King and John Turner for returning to the Department to share their memories today.
We are presenting awards to specific individuals, but I want to thank all of the dedicated women and men of the Civil Rights Division for their efforts to protect civil rights and ensure equal justice under the law. Your outstanding work has made a difference.
It is rare that we take a step back from the hectic pace of our daily lives to celebrate accomplishments. But, such reflection serves an important function: by recognizing excellence, we promote excellence. And, our award recipients have certainly achieved excellence.
We name these awards after people for a reason. The first is to honor some of the men and women who devoted themselves to the cause of justice. The second reason is to preserve their legacies and advance the principles they lived by.
Today, it is my pleasure to present the Division’s highest award named in honor of John Doar, who served the Division from 1961 to 1967 as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Assistant Attorney General. During his service under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, John Doar demonstrated a passion and commitment to protect civil rights for all Americans during a very challenging period in our history.
Doar happened to be a Republican lawyer, not that it mattered. And he was a quiet and humble man, which did matter.
In 1963, when unrest developed during the effort to integrate the University of Mississippi, John Doar stood before an angry crowd and tried to head off a confrontation with the police. He said, “My name is John Doar -- D-O-A-R. I am from the Department of Justice, and everyone here knows that I stand for what is right."
Everyone in this room today understands the power of John Doar’s words. When you represent the Department of Justice, you must always stand for what is right.
Doar went on to lead the federal prosecutions of the cowardly killers of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. He passed away three years ago, but he will never be forgotten by this Department.
Each year, the Civil Rights Division presents the John Doar Award to a career attorney in recognition of his or her high standard of excellence and dedication through their career. It is my privilege to present this year’s John Doar Award to Housing and Civil Enforcement Section Deputy Chief Michael S. Maurer.
Throughout his nearly 27 years of service with the Justice Department, Michael has dedicated himself to breaking down barriers to educational and housing opportunities for individuals across this country. He has served in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section for nearly 17 years, as both a Deputy Chief and Trial Attorney, and in the Educational Opportunities Section for 10 years, again as both a Deputy Chief and Trial Attorney.
Michael is one of the Division’s most experienced, productive and dedicated advocates. He has litigated, supervised and successfully resolved scores of groundbreaking cases that have shaped federal civil rights law, helped hundreds of victims of discrimination obtain relief and greater opportunities in housing and education, and substantially advanced the Division’s mission to protect the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals across this country.
The breadth and impact of his contributions over the past two decades are extraordinary. He has:
- Fought segregation in primary and secondary schools;
- Provided equal access to higher education for women;
- Ensured that thousands of multi-family housing units are accessible to persons with disabilities in dozens of states across the country;
- Combated exclusionary and discriminatory zoning decisions by local officials; and
- Provided relief to hundreds of victims of race, national origin, disability, sex, religious and familial status discrimination in housing.
Michael has also significantly contributed to the integrity and professionalism of the Division by ably serving as a Professional Responsibility Officer for the past 15 years, providing sound training and guidance to hundreds of employees each year.
He is extremely deserving of this award, as he honors the legacy of John Doar in so many ways. Congratulations Michael. Please come forward to receive your award.
I am also pleased to present the Maceo W. Hubbard Award.
Born in 1898, Mr. Hubbard was one of the first African Americans to graduate from Harvard Law School and serve as a staff lawyer in the Civil Rights Division. After World War II, Mr. Hubbard joined DOJ during the Truman Administration and remained with the Department for 40 years, including more than 20 years in the Division. He helped develop policies on school desegregation and legislation that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Each year, the Division presents this award to a career Division employee who has furthered the cause of civil rights through either a significant, innovative accomplishment or a sustained commitment to the advancing of civil rights. The recipient of this year’s award is Trial Attorney Kerry Krentler Dean of the Special Litigation Section.
Kerry is receiving this award for her exemplary work in protecting the civil rights of individuals confined in jails, prisons, and juvenile correctional facilities. She has worked to ensure that those in correctional facilities are protected from violence and exploitation, are held in humane conditions, and receive adequate medical and mental health care.
Kerry has been a leader in cases that addressed conditions at some of the country’s largest and most troubled facilities. She has also made significant contributions to the Department’s policy work. Colleagues, opposing counsel, and courts all laud her contributions. Over a sustained period, the lives of many individuals have benefitted greatly from Ms. Dean’s outstanding service and dedication. In all her work, she has uniformly demonstrated the extraordinary skill, dedication and integrity that this award is designed to recognize. These accomplishments exemplify the extraordinary abilities that have earned her the Maceo W. Hubbard Award.
Congratulations Kerry. Please come forward to receive your award.
At this time, I want to welcome John back to the podium to present additional awards.
Once again, congratulations to all of the award recipients.