President George W Bush & First Lady Laura Bush
both b. 1946
43rd President of the United States & First Lady. Leading a controversial administration, he was president during both the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. During the 2008 North American Leader’s Summit, hosted in New Orleans, President Bush attempted to tie maintaining NAFTA and trade to post Katrina recovery. Mrs. Bush enjoyed widespread popularity as First Lady championing causes benefitting children, women’s health and women’s rights.
President Barack Obama
44th President of the United States and the first Black person to hold the office. Beginning as a community activist in Chicago, before joining the state and then US Senate. His administration had many legislative successes, including the passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the expansion of federal hate crimes, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
USA VP Kamala Harris
49th Vice President of the United States. The first woman, first Black person and first Asian American person to hold the office. Having been District Attorney for San Francisco, then California Attorney General, she became a US Senator from California. Her legislation to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law.
USA Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
One of the most important figures of the Civil Rights Movement. From 1936 he worked for the NAACP, becoming its chief counsel and establishing the Legal Defense Fund. He won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education and others that established equal protection for African Americans in housing, voting, employment, and education. He served as U.S. Solicitor General before being appointed in 1967 to the Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson, becoming the first Black Supreme Court justice. Marshall was a steadfast liberal during his tenure on the Court, and he maintained his previous views concerning the need for equitable and just treatment of the nation’s minorities. He retired in 1991.
USA Secretary of State & First Lady Hillary R Clinton
Starting out as a lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, she was later a lawyer on staff of the House Judiciary during the Nixon Impeachment Inquiry. As first lady she wielded power and influence almost unprecedented the role. In 2000 she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York, thereby becoming the first former First Lady to win elect office; she was reelected in 2006. From 2009 to 2013 she served as Secretary of State in the administration. Clinton later ran in the 2016 presidential election and was named the Democratic nominee, making her the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major party in the U.S.
USA House Representative William Gray III
Initially a minister, he served as the representative from Pennsylvania’s 2nd district from 1979-1991. In that time, he was chair of the Democratic Caucus, the first Black House Majority hip, and the first Black chair of the House Budget Committee. Yet, at the height of his political career, he abruptly resigned to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Negro College Fund, a role he maintained for 13 years. He was also director of many private sector companies such as Dell and Pfizer before co creating his own advisory and lobbying agency, Grey Loeffler LLC.
Representative John Lewis
One of the “Big Six” Civil Rights leaders and later a politician known as the “conscience of the congress”. In his youth he was most visible for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the march in Selma that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” He also played a key role in the historic March on Washington and was the youngest person to give a speech that day. Later as A Democrat, Lewis was elected to Congress in 1986 and served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Georgia’s 5th district. Every year for 15 years he introduced a bill to create a national African American History Museum. It finally passed in 2003 and opened in 2016.
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
The 22nd Canadian Prime Minister, he was in office from 2006 to 2015 and was the leader of the Conservative Party. Represented Canada during the 2008 North American Leader’s Summit.
President of Mexico Felipe Calderón Hinojosa
The 63rd President of Mexico, serving in office from 2006 to 2012. He was a member of the conservative National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN). He was in New Orleans for the 2008 North American Leader’s Summit which coincided with the reopening of the Mexican consulate.