SAN DIEGO – Friends, loved ones and grateful admirers gathered Saturday to mark the 100th birthday of longtime San Diego political and civil rights leader Leon Williams.

In a celebration held outside of the San Diego County administration building, Williams received special awards and was showered with love from those impacted by his life.

“I’ve gotten so old, I think I learned a little bit in my old age, that it really doesn’t do much good to hurt other people for your own benefit,” Williams said in an address to guests.

“I would totally expect this to happen, he’s a great human being, and I’m not saying that just because he’s my father, I watch him every day, he’s an inspiration,” said Alisa Williams, Leon’s daughter.

Leon Williams is 100 with a legacy that trails behind him for others to follow. And people have, too. People like his daughter, Alisa, said she is proud of the work he has done.

“I was able to glean about the kindness the fairness and being just towards others,” Alisa said.

Williams is the highlight for dozens of people in San Diego County. Several elected officials rewarded him with accolades at a birthday ceremony.

Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher honored Williams with the lifetime achievement award from the county.

Fletcher said “you see a man with a heart, with kindness and compassion. And if we need anything right now, we need more of that.”

Mayor Todd Gloria during the celebration declared July 30 as Leon Williams Day.

“There would be none of us, none of us would be serving in public office…if he didn’t open the door, bulletproof suit to demand n everyone acknowledges him as a man,” Gloria said.

Williams is a giant of the community with work dating back decades. He was San Diego’s first Black councilman in 1969 and then went on to be elected the first Black county supervisor in 1982. He’s been honored continuously over the years with plaques throughout the city.

He said he doesn’t sleep at night sometimes because he’s instead “thinking about human beings and how we can create a better society.”

Williams shares his life lessons for all of us.

“I really think it comes down to mutual respect,” he said. “All human beings ought to respect other human beings. Not to be judgmental and harsh.”

Williams shared his future plans with FOX 5, saying “just going to enjoy the moment. I have a beautiful view from my house, I can see all around and marvel in the beauty.”