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Guess who’s coming to dinner? Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden during a recent appearance with the Late Show's Stephen Colbert (Special: CBS)

By Maria Saporta

In a major coup, the Center for Civil and Human Rights will honor former Vice President Joe Biden at its fourth annual “Power to Inspire” tribute dinner on May 17 at the Georgia Aquarium.

The event has become the biggest annual fundraiser for the Center, which opened in June, 2014, to showcase Atlanta’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and to serve as a gathering place to shine the light on current human rights struggles.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden (Special: Politico.com)

The Center said it was honoring Biden because he “exemplifies the advancement of rights and opportunities for all people including ending violence against women, ensuring LGBTQ equality and focusing on the protection of children.”

Biden also is emerging as the leading force of the nation’s Democratic Party – and considered a likely frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination, if he should decide to run.

“Vice President Biden has led by example to ensure that everyone, no matter their income level, race, gender, age, or sexual orientation is treated fairly and is provided with equal access to housing, education and general welfare,” the Center stated in its announcement.

Earlier in March, the Center announced a leadership change with the departure of Derreck Kayongo as its president and CEO. Board member Brian Tolleson has stepped in to do the job on an interim basis. The Center also announced the hiring of a new chief operating officer – Donald Byrd and a new director of finance – Lavette Dow-Jones.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden during a recent appearance with the Late Show’s Stephen Colbert (Special: CBS)

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who championed the development of the Center, said the Power to Inspire dinner would be an opportunity for Atlantans to recognize Biden’s contributions to the country and the global community.

“Since the beginning, the mission of the Center has been to reflect on, inspire and transform the dialogue around civil and human rights” said Franklin, who also serves as chair of the Center’s board. “Vice President Joe Biden embodies that mission. Joe Biden has dedicated his life to public service in such a personal way. He constantly reminds us of the limitless power that comes from respecting and uplifting one another.”

The event chairs of the dinner are Michèle and Kenneth Taylor. The honorary vice chair is Johnita Due of Turner Broadcasting. The host committee is co-chaired by Sheri and Steve Labovitz as well as Mack Wilbourn.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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  1. Chris Johnston March 29, 2018 11:01 pm

    Looking at the Center’s latest IRS form 990, it’s obvious the finances were in disarray before the recent executive housecleaning.Report

  2. b austin martin April 1, 2018 1:32 pm

    Joe Biden, uplifting? His saying is “It doesn’t matter if you fall, it matters if you get back up.” He has had Tens of Thousand, Hundreds of Thousands, help him get back up when he has fallen, but he seems to expect others to do it all by themselves. That’s Why “Middle Class Joe” couldn’t get the suburban Middle Class Women’s and the Blue Collar Men’s Vote for the Dems in 2016– The Dems who consistently, always trying since the late 1970s’ Repub Congress to rebuild the Middle Class… They heard it straight from him, You’ll have to get back up all by yourself. Human & Civil Rights champion, Are you kidding me? He can start by washing the feet of our Atlantans who have been the Champions against whom his rhetoric has been spewed. Do you have any idea How Many individuals and families who cannot afford insurance or co-pays are being used as guinea pigs for experimentation and greedy exploitive entrepreneurs calling themselves ‘healthcare’ companies Against our Human & Civil Rights— by Joe Biden’s 21st Century Cures Act which he led as a Low Information Leader. If he cares so much about Human & Civil Rights, Why have I not seen him mentioned, not one time, in all of the print & online coverage of the hundreds of human & civil rights advocacy organizations, and serious journalists, I’ve followed for 40 years?… And against the very Lives of People who hold tight to Civil Decency, he reinforces the Culture of Violence every time he says he wants to take Pres T out back to beat the crap out of him. Before he even attends the ceremony, before he even washes feet, make required reading for him the SPLC’s Spring 2018 Intelligence Report, which doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what many of us have observed… He is way out of his depth, on What is happening to our Human & Civil Rights. I wouldn’t put him on a volunteer voter phone bank for the elections coming this year. He may have gone home to DElaware every night when he was in Congress, but he was not interacting with the Citizens; and by not staying in DC, he missed overhearing all his colleagues’ scheming to make Vanity & Greed & Hatred the electorate— against the Good Will of the American majority. Joe Biden from Delaware, with the bleached-white smile; Delaware, City of Wilmington, where every Sham and Shell LLC has its HQ in a P.O. Box… I do not call this Service to Country, Service to Human & Civil Rights. When was the last time Joe Biden listened to Mayor Shirley Franklin, who, I remember, knew Mayor Maynard Jackson well, who taught us what Service really looks like. Well, that’s all for now.Report

  3. b Austin martin April 2, 2018 7:36 am

    The #1 Human & Civil Right in the U.S. is the Right to Vote and for that Vote to be counted. (a). Joe Biden has said on numerous occasions that he was in every Intel Briefing with Pres Obama, and I saw on C-Span in June 2016 the CIA and FBI stating that our electronic systems were being hacked at Crisis Levels. (b) Oct 6 2016, Pres Obama reported to the Country that hacking was Russian, (The Special Counsel investigation is about who knew and who colluded in it.). This was 4 weeks before the Election. Joe Biden has said in interviews “If we knew then (Election Day) what we knew 3 weeks later (certainty of Russian hacking)…” Yet in January, 11 weeks later, Joe Biden swore every newly “elected” member of Congress into office; He, too, was complicit in allowing Russians to have their votes counted, rather than the American Citizens’ votes counted. The Congress would make new laws, and confirm political appointees, and oversee Judicial confirmations. Why didn’t Pres Obama step-in? Probably due to threats of escalation of violence; I noticed Alt-Right Facebook posts (of the 11 hate orgs broadly defining the 954 to 4000 smaller groups), that Pres Obama in attempting “his tyranny” would “refuse to allow” “Elected Trump” to be sworn into Office if he “won” the “election.” Did Joe Biden take the podium and speak to the Nation about what happened, and a need for Election Re-Do, and reassure the Nation that this would not be a Pres O tyranny power-play, just a re-do for Fair Election given known Russian interference flanked by the 17 Intel agencies? Nope. (C) Georgia is going to Paper Ballot in 2018, given Elected Officials’ #1 Responsibility: Protect that Every Vote be Counted as the Voter intended. Georgia’s Sec of State Voter Registration was hacked in Aug 2015, electronic hacking prevention legislation just now being introduced in GA Legislature. Did Joe Biden ask National Election Commission to look into this State hacking at any time in the 15 months between Aug 2015 and Nov 2016? (D) Maybe Joe Biden received death threats that we know nothing about, simply for taking the VP position for the first American President of color; maybe he had threats against his family, and he was obviously emotionally impaired about loss of family from his late wife & child, and recent loss of his son. But maybe SCOTUS Justice Scalia received threats too, for setting aside his religious convictions in deciding some of his positions according to valid rules of law, with church & state separation, before he died in 2016; We May speak our religious convictions but not impose them on others through law, he stated. Elected & Appointed Officials will always receive hate mail, and blackmail that they will be publicly humiliated in some way, if they do not act in certain ways. Do they continue to uphold our Constitution, Our U.S. Constitution for Human & Civil Rights? for Voting Rights? I’ll listen and read for more info on this. Thank youReport


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