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Sen. Manning wins civil rights award

Oregon Sen. James Manning of Eugene will receive the Civil Rights Champion Award from the League of Minority Voters.

COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon Sen. James Manning, D-EugeneOregon Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, has been selected to receive the Civil Rights Champion Award from the League of Minority Voters Board.

"We face unprecedented political and racial divisions that threaten to undermine the liberties of our own citizens, and how we respond to these challenges matters," wrote Promise King, the organization's founder and president, and Sarah Einowski, board co-vice chair, in a letter. "… In recognition of this, the League of Minority Voters' board has decided that your ongoing work in our communities has set the tone for true civil rights reform and increased protections."

Manning, a retired U.S. Army officer, volunteers for several non-profit organizations and local and state boards and commissions in the Eugene area. He served two terms on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs and served six years on the City of Eugene Police Commission, where he chaired the Police Commission Outreach Resources Committee and co-chaired the Gang Awareness Planning Committee.

Since his appointment to the Senate in December 2016, he has sponsored legislation to protect worker rights, improve quality of life programs for seniors and people with disabilities and expand state Medicaid coverage for an additional 30,000 Oregonians.

Manning is Lane County's first black legislator and one of three African-Americans in the 30-member state Senate.

Manning said he's honored by the award because "I believe strongly that all people deserve equal rights, as well as to be treated with respect and dignity.

"It is important for us, as a society, to stand up in the face of injustice and hatred. It is up to us to squelch intolerance and inequality where ever it is found."

He plans to accept the award at a ceremony at the Eighth-Annual League of Minority Voters' State of Civil Rights Forum from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Benson Hotel, 309 S.W. Broadway in Portland. The theme of the event this year is "Voting: The Civil Rights Matter of Our Time."

The League of Minority Voters was founded in 2007 as a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization to address issues that impact communities of color and minorities in Oregon. The league coordinates the annual forum to discuss solutions to society's racial divide.