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David Lawrence Jr. introductory remarks at the Equality Florida 2012 gala in Miami Beach

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Several people have written and/or commented on introductory remarks given by former Miami Herald Publisher David Lawrence Jr. at the Equality Florida Miami gala on Sunday. (Click the image to view a photo gallery from the reception at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.)

I'm proud to share Dave's introduction:

Steve Rothaus Introduction

March 18, 2012

I worry about a lot these days, beginning with the hateful climate of so-called “discussion” and discourse these days. I admire those who speak up with thoughtfulness and civility. Steve Rothaus comes to mind.

For me, then, it is a privilege, to present this Equality Award to Steve Rothaus. Among the important memories of my decade at The Miami Herald is Steve’s willingness to speak up – and write what he was hearing and thinking.

When one thinks of leaders, one tends to think of larger-than-life folks, people who noisily charge up hills in great battles. Teddy Roosevelt might come to mind. But each of us is multi-faceted, and that was Mr. Roosevelt, too. I want us to remember that Mr. Roosevelt spoke of leadership as “to dare mighty things,” and speaking up for fairness and justice is, in fact, a “mighty thing.” It is how our country evolves and grows. Steve Rothaus’ contribution to what I call basic American equity is considerable. He was, in fact, a national pioneer in what we covered and our openness to others. We were a better newspaper, and we are a better people, for his willingness to speak up on what is ultimately right and fair.

Now, I took some heat for running what Steve wrote (and, by the way, what many other people wrote), but I cannot think of anything more basic than a publisher standing up for the fundamentals of decency and fairness and justice. I’m not telling you he made my job easy, but I am telling you that there was never a moment when I was less than proud that I worked with Steve Rothaus.

His bio, as you would imagine, is impressive. Journalism graduate of FIU. Extensive Herald background for a quarter-century-plus as reporter and editor. Much honored nationally, including a share of a Pulitzer.

His partner since 1985 is public relations executive Ric Katz.

Now, beyond Steve’s impressive bio, I can also tell you that he loved the movie “The Artist.”…recently read a memoir by Carol Burnett…and is a passionate fan of reruns of “I Love Lucy.” What all that means I cannot tell you!

Ladies and gentlemen, a great contributor to the future of community and country – and good journalism: Steve Rothaus.

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