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"Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala Pays Tribute to Dr. Dorothy I. Height"

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Participation's recent Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala in Washington, DC. Pictured L-R: Richard Womack Sr., AFL-CIO; Marc Morial, National Urban League; LaToya Foster, TV Personality; Melanie L .Campbell, The National Coalition; Makani Themba Nixon, The Praxis Project; Ralph B. Everett, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Congressman William "Lacy" Clay, D-MO; and Gerald Hudson, Service Employees International Union.

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Washington, DC - One thing was clear during the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (The National Coalition) 2010 Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala held recently in Washington, DC - Dr. Dorothy I. Height was sorely missed.

Although the event honored prominent leaders in the black community, after seven-year-old tennis whiz, Leah Long - dressed in full Height garb- stirred the audience with her moving rendition of Dr. Height, honorees and presenters shared emotional stories about the woman who had touched each of their lives in a special way.

Richard M. Womack Sr., interim chair of The National Coalition, called the queen mother of the civil-rights movement an eagle because "Eagles fly alone," he said.

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Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to President Obama's Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, brought greetings to the audience during The National Coalition's 13th Annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala.

Held at Renaissance Washington Hotel, the event was hosted by radio and television personality, LaToya Foster. Congressman William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, was given the Chairman's Circle Award; Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Trailblazer Award; Tony Gladney, vice president, National Diversity Relations, Harrah's Entertainment, Corporate Leadership Award; Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League, Economic and Community Empowerment Award; and Makani Themba-Nixon, executive director, The Praxis Project, received the Community Empowerment Award.

The Spirit of Democracy Awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to creating balance in the democratic process and support The Nation Coalition's mission and vision of making civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. Sponsors included Amgen, AT&T, State Farm, NEA, AFT, Verizon, among others.

Founded in 1976, the NCBCP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. The current programs and initiatives of the organization include Black Youth Vote!, Black Women's Roundtable, and the Unity Diaspora Coalition's 2010 census and mid-term election campaigns. The National Coalition has trained and engaged African American leaders and community activists in overcoming institutional barriers that have hindered the growth of Black communities politically, socially and economically.

PHOTO CREDITS: C it Visually with "CG"

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