Metro Weekly

Former Attorney General Eric Holder to address HRC National Dinner

Annual fundraising dinner will be preceded by event featuring Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams

Photo: Eric Holder. Credit: North Charleston/flickr.

The Human Rights Campaign has announced that former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be one of the top featured speakers at the organization’s 22nd annual National Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Holder, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, led the U.S. Department of Justice when it came out in support of the lawsuit seeking to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. He has consistently advocated for the expansion of LGBTQ rights, and has focused on fighting partisan gerrymandering and advocating for better congressional redistricting since leaving office.

“As attorney general for the most pro-equality administration in history, Eric Holder has had a profound impact on the lives of countless Americans, and he played a crucial role in laying the groundwork for marriage equality and many of the rights LGBTQ people enjoy today,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Now through his leadership of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Eric Holder continues to be a champion of civil rights, helping to fight partisan gerrymandering and safeguard the fundamental right to vote.”

HRC’s National Dinner, which serves as one of the organization’s chief fundraising events, annually draws more than 3,000 attendees to the nation’s capital each year.

Funds from the event go to benefit HRC’s various programs and initiatives promoting LGBTQ equality. This year, with the approaching midterm elections, HRC has mounted a $26 million campaign known as HRC Rising, which works with organizers on the ground in key swing states to elect pro-equality candidates to Congress, statewide office, and state legislative seats.

Virginia Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas Park) and Nelson Araujo, the Democratic candidate for Nevada Secretary of State, will also speak at the dinner, which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington.

“As we work to turn out millions of LGBTQ voters across the nation, we are thrilled to welcome two trailblazing elected officials, Danica Roem and Nelson Araujo,” Griffin said. “Virginia Delegate Danica Roem made history last year when she defeated one of Virginia’s most vehemently anti-LGBTQ politicians and became the only out transgender state representative in the nation. And this fall, HRC is working to help Nelson Araujo make history in his own right by becoming Nevada’s first Latinx Secretary of State and the first LGBTQ Nevadan to be elected statewide.”

Earlier in the day on Sept. 15, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, will address HRC leaders, members, and supporters from across the country at a separate event. If elected, Abrams would be Georgia’s first African-American governor and its first Democratic governor since 2002. 

Abrams, the Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, has used her position as head of the Democratic caucus to block attempts by Peach State legislators to pass several anti-LGBTQ laws. She has repeatedly argued that Georgia must embrace LGBTQ equality measures if it is to continue being a hub for business and innovation. She is also the first Georgia gubernatorial candidate, of either major political party, to incorporate support for LGBTQ rights as part of her official platform. 

“Stacey Abrams is inspiring Americans across the state of Georgia and around the country through her historic campaign for governor,” Griffin said. “As a stalwart supporter of LGBTQ equality, Leader Abrams is fighting for the rights of all Georgians. HRC is on the ground working tirelessly to help ensure she prevails on Election Day.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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