NAACP Image Awards: Benjamin Crump Vows “Never to Stop Fighting Racism and Discrimination” in the Classroom and Courtroom

Benjamin Crump gave a fiery speech while accepting the Social Justice Impact Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards Saturday night.

“Tonight’s recipient of the Social Justice Impact Award is a voice for those whose mere existence has been criminalized,” Tracee Ellis Ross said as she introduced the nationally recognized trial lawyer. “A voice for the collective advancement and protection of Black people. Whether bringing international awareness to another senseless death of a Black person at the hands of police or taking to task those who wish to suppress and erase our history, attorney Benjamin Crump is a tireless advocate for justice and equality.”

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Following a highlight video, Crump took the stage, where he thanked several people including NAACP National Board of Directors chairman Leon Russell, God, his family and “all of those who have fought with me throughout the years to make liberty and justice for all a reality.”

“I accept this award as greater motivation to continue to be an unapologetically defender of Black life, Black liberty and Black humanity,” he said, as his powerful words drew the audience to its feet, with people cheering and raising fists in the air. “I promise I will use this Social Justice Award as a greater incentive to fight against the legalized genocide of colored people and vow never to stop fighting racism and discrimination.”

“We all have a role to play, so I will continue to fight in the court of law and the court of public opinion. And now that they’re trying to ban our most celebrated Black authors and AP African American studies, we must advocate for our children and our culture in the classrooms and demand … that they acknowledge that the teaching of Black history matters,” he continued, evoking loud cheers and whistles from the crowd as he names iconic and impactful Black figures throughout America’s history, including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and John Lewis. “They were not mere footnotes in the history books. They were the heroes.”

The high-profile attorney who has represented the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Tyre Nichols, among others, said, “We will not let elected officials exterminate our history, our literature or our culture.”

“It is so important that both Black children and white children and all children know that Black history matters because Black history is American history,” Crump continued as he pledged to take the fight to the classroom. “And all of our children must know that their culture contributed to the progress and history of the United States of America.”

As Crump concluded his speech, he added, “We are prepared to fight for Black history in and outside of the courtrooms. … We have to stand up for our children’s future. We have to speak up for our children’s future, and we have to fight for our children’s future. Because if we don’t … we can’t expect anyone else to. … And we have to be prepared to fight for our children’s future until hell freezes over. And then, we have to be ready to fight on the ice.”

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