Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NOW Remembers and Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Civil Rights and Women's Rights Activist Dr. Dorothy Height

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116
NOW Remembers and Celebrates the Life and Legacy of
Civil Rights and Women's Rights Activist Dr. Dorothy Height
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
April 20, 2010
All of us at the National Organization for Women are saddened
by the passing of our friend, colleague, educator, activist,
and philanthropist, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height. Dr. Height lived
a full life, accomplished so much for the greater good,
and left a legacy of empowerment and inspiration for girls
and women of all ages and all races.

Dr. Height was the chair and president emerita of the
National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), serving as its
fourth president from l957-l998. For nearly half a century,
she led the struggle for equality and human rights for all people.
Her life exemplified her passionate commitment for a just society
and her vision of a better world.

Dr. Height's career as a civil rights advocate began in the early 1930s,
as she worked to prevent lynching, desegregate the armed forces,
reform the criminal justice system, and establish free access
to public accommodations. She met with Eleanor Roosevelt,
worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was internationally
known for her humanitarianism, lecturing and studying around the

On her 92nd birthday, Dr. Height was presented the
Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civil and most
distinguished award presented by the U.S. Congress.
And in 2008, the National Organization for Women and
NOW Foundation honored Dr. Height's life and accomplishments
with a NOW Intrepid Award, given to "resolutely courageous,
fearless and bold" women.

Dr. Height never stopped working for women and girls. Recently
she served as honorary co-chair of the Leadership Conference on
Civil and Human Rights campaign to ratify the United Nations
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW), the international treaty on basic
human rights for women. Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly
in 1979, CEDAW has been ratified by 185 countries to date.
The United States is one of a small handful of countries
around the world not to have ratified CEDAW, and Dr. Height
was working to change that sorry fact right up to the end of her

There could be no more fitting way to honor Dr. Height's legacy
of dedication to equality for all women and girls than for NOW
to call on the U.S. Senate to act immediately to ratify CEDAW.

From its founding in 1966 right up to today, Dr. Height has been
a great inspiration to NOW, and we will forever be grateful for her
support and friendship. We will miss her dearly, but we will see her
every day, at every march, at every protest, and at every
conference, because her spirit lives inside all of us.

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