The Hon. Leon Williams’ Lifetime Achievement Centennial Celebration!

The Honorable Leon L. Williams, statesman, humanitarian, and friend to everyday people, was the guest of honor at the County of San Diego Lifetime Achievement Award Celebration of him, which coincided with his 100th birthday.


Photo: Mike Norris

By Cori Zaragoza, V&V Staff Writer

The event, held at the County Administration Center, was attended by more than 500 people, including locals, politicians, and the many who have grown and worked with him over the decades.

Photo: Mike Norris

The event was held on Saturday, July 30, 2022, was well attended with locals and political leaders gathering and mingling in celebration of Mr. Williams’ life of service. The crowd was so packed that there was no standing room left in the tent that shielded attendees from the hot, summer sun.

On stage with Mr. Williams at his celebration were his son JJ Anderson, Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, Michael Brunker, and Yvette Porter. At 100 years young, Mr. Williams still seemed as spry as ever, up and about and smiling throughout his whole event. There was a sense of the magnitude of Mr. Williams’ service to his community; many attendees teared up as they spoke to him as they soaked in a bit of his wisdom.

Photo: Mike Norris

Many locals who attended remarked how this would be a community event that will be remembered in San Diego history, as the significance of Mr. Williams’ love and dedication to his community, despite working through racism and adversity, was honored. His impact on San Diego is broad and unifying.

“I didn’t know that people appreciated the struggles that we all had to make, not just me, I wasn’t the only one struggling in those days to create more fairness amongst human beings,” said Williams in a press release by the County.

Williams first made history in 1968, when he was elected to be San Diego’s first Black city councilmember. He would go on to become the first Black county supervisor for San Diego as well, in 1982. In May 2020, the Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission was created in his honor to “promote positive human relations, respect, and the integrity of every individual regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or citizenship status,” according to their mission statement.

Photo: Mike Norris

In addition to Mr. Williams celebration, the County also hosted a resource fair to highlight San Diego programs, to further connect the community to the many services that our county has to offer.