Joel Anderson (third from right) with members of the Tuskegee Airmen at the unveiling the highway sign in 2013. Marine Corps photo

State Senator Joel Anderson was honored with a prestigious diversity award for his work to rename a portion of Interstate 15 for World War II’s famed Tuskegee Airmen.

Anderson, a Republican whose 38th District covers much of East County, received the Chuck Nichols & Pierre Frazier Bridge Builder Award at a luncheon Friday aboard the USS Midway honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Senator Anderson has been a tireless advocate on behalf of all San Diegans,” said Gabe Cruz, chair of the Midway Museum‘s diversity and inclusion committee. “And he is widely recognized as a tireless advocate for veterans of all ethnicities.”

Joel Anderson

Anderson worked with the Midway committee to pass a resolution renaming a three-mile stretch of the highway near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in 2013.

“While I don’t pretend to fully understand the experience of the Tuskegee Airmen, I do believe that what we can learn from them is this: over the course of its history, America has often failed to live up to its promise. But that promise is still worth fighting for — whether it’s in the skies of Europe, or on a bridge in Selma — the idea of America is worth the fight,” Anderson said.

Tuskegee Airmen was the popular name for a group of African-American pilots who fought the Nazis over Europe in World War II at at time when they faced segregation at home.

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