Black History Legacy Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – February 11, 2019

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis speaking at the Crocker Art Museum

Lt. Governor Kounalakis speaking at the Black History Legacy Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA


FEBRUARY 11, 2019

Thank you for the warm welcome Mayor Brown. And thank you to my dear friend of so many years, Alice Huffman for inviting me here tonight.  It’s an honor to be here to celebrate black history month, the NAACP and the Legacy Hall of Fame inductees.

I am proud to have served as a U.S. Ambassador under President Barack Obama where I often heard him repeat Martin Luther King’s oft-quoted line, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”.

The NAACP is the nation’s largest and most widely recognized civil right organization, one of the strongest forces for civil rights in America for last 110 years! No organization has done more to bend that arc towards justice more than you.

And of course, as we know, there is still much work to be done.

Over the last 20 months I had the opportunity to travel to all 58 counties, talking to people and hearing their stories. Even though the California economy has rebounded from the Great Recession, I saw first-hand, that many families have been left behind. We may be the fifth largest economy in the world, but too many – especially people of color – need our help to gain access to quality health care, affordable housing, good paying jobs and the chance to go to college.

As your Lt. Governor, I plan to play a leadership role in one area in particular. When I was a young activist, I fought against the passage of proposition 209. We all knew it was wrong, and as predicted, it has had serious impacts on the number of African American students in our public university system. As a new member of UC Regents and CSU Board of Trustees. I truly look forward to working with you to advance new policies to reverse the effects of 209, and bring more inclusiveness to higher education in this state.

Tonight is also a night to celebrate the many great contributions of African Americans in government, service, business and culture.

I would like to add my recognition of the important work of the Honorable Ronald Dellums, who was the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and is remembered for putting civil rights and programs for people first.

We are also here to honor Bernard Tyson who has served as the CEO of Kaiser Permanente for nearly seven years – Under his leadership Kaiser has taken significant strides to delivering health care to the most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you for your leadership Bernard.

Thank you all again for inviting me to join you here tonight! Have a wonderful evening!