Civil rights icon is recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service and Leadership

The 26th Annual Compañeros Awards Luncheon, held on April 16 at the Georgia Aquarium, attracted more than 400 guests to one of the LAA’s largest mission events and fundraisers.

WCK_7445Honored at Compañeros were the Honorable Andrew Young with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Public Service and Leadership on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965); Elizabeth Alemán, the mother of a student participating in the LAA’s Youth Programs, with the Community Leadership and Service Award, for the leadership she has displayed engaged in the schools of her two sons; and Delta Air Lines with the Exemplary Corporate Leadership Award for its contributions to the LAA and the Latino community.

Keynote speaker Dr. Samuel Betances, a high school dropout who later went on to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, talked humorously about his experience as a Puerto Rican growing up and living in the United States. His inspirational talk, in which he encouraged guests to get out of their seats to give each other “abrazos” (embraces) and pointed out that “if you have an accent, you know more than one language,” earned him a standing ovation. He embraced Young as he sat down, calling him a “brother.”

Young, a civil rights icon who has served as a member of Congress, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta, also inspired guests upon receiving his award with talk about “public-purpose capitalism” and the responsibility the citizens and corporations of Atlanta have to make the world a better place.

“Our vision and values have to be exported to the world,” Young said.