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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks of equality.

"It's such a pleasure to have the opportunity to say a few words to you this morning. I know who you are. NLC members represent the red, white and blue in the United States. You represent every corner of this country. Congress is very much aware of your accomplishments," remarked Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, this year's Congressional City Conference Celebrate Diversity Breakfast keynote speaker.

Norton is Washington, D.C.'s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives.

This year's breakfast event was cosponsored by NLC's six constituency groups. Founded and sponsored by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), the breakfast is jointly sponsored by all of the groups including Women in Municipal Government, the University Communities Caucus, the Hispanic Elected Local Officials, the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials and the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials.

"Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is a dynamic woman with very outstanding and impressive credentials. I am proud to call her my friend," said NLC President Anthony A. Williams in introducing Norton. "Among her many accomplishments, Congresswoman Norton has placed major emphasis on bringing home many unique economic benefits to her constituents. One noteworthy example is her bill that allows D.C. residents to attend any public U.S. college at low instate tuition or gives student $2,500 to attend certain private colleges."

In speaking to NLC delegates, Congresswoman Norton said, "You'll forgive me if I pass on the usual rhetoric of how important diversity is to the nation. I will speak about it in my own way. As a matter of fact, in a very real sense, I think it is far too late to speak about diversity and how important it is. Diversity was necessary for there to become a nation. My friends, there just wouldn't be anybody here but the Native Americans."

She continued, "This country needed people and ultimately took people from everywhere they could find them, and when I say 'took people,' I refer to those who came here as slaves. That's how bad the country needed diversity. This is a country that has welcomed immigrants from every part of the world. The challenge in America is not diversity, the challenge is equality."

Norton spoke about her experiences growing up in Washington and about her family's own personal history in terms of education and work achievements.

Her remarks also focused on the importance of political equality and she spoke of examples of how she is working with other members of Congress to ensure equality in terms of voting rights for the District of Columbia.

"Our challenge in the District is for political equality so that everyone is entitled to full and equal voting rights," Norton said.

Details: For more information about NLC's constituency groups, visit www.nlc.org and for information about Congresswoman Norton, log on to www.house.gov.
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Title Annotation:at National League of Cities conference
Author:Gordon, Mary France
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 4, 2005
Words:474
Previous Article:Members matter.
Next Article:GLBLO puts human rights issues at top of its agenda.


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