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The Campaign for America's Future and Institute for America's Future invite you to our annual Awards Gala Dinner. Join us as we salute our Progressive Champion , Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership  and Lifetime Leadership  award winners.
|Monday, June 18, 2012
Reception 6 p.m.
Dinner 7 p.m.
|Washington Hilton & Towers
1919 Connecticut Avenue NW
Katrina vanden Heuvel is Editor and Publisher of The Nation.
She is a frequent commentator on American and international politics on ABC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy magazine and The Boston Globe. She writes a weekly web column for The Washington Post. Her blog "Editor's Cut," appears at TheNation.com.
She is the editor of "The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in The Age of Obama," "Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover," and co-editor of "Taking Back America—And Taking Down The Radical Right." She is also co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of "Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev's Reformers"; editor of "The Nation: 1865-1990," and the collection "A Just Response: The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001."
She is a recipient of Planned Parenthood's Maggie Award for her article, "Right-to-Lifers Hit Russia." The special issue she conceived and edited, "Gorbachev's Soviet Union," was awarded New York University's 1988 Olive Branch Award. Vanden Heuvel was also co-editor of "You and We,” a Russian-language feminist newsletter.
She has received awards for public service from numerous groups, including The Liberty Hill Foundation, The Correctional Association, and The Association for American-Russian Women. In 2003, she received the New York Civil Liberties Union's Callaway Prize for the Defense of the Right of Privacy. She is also the recipient of The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's 2003 "Voices of Peace" award, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s 2006 “Justice in Action” award. In 2010, she received the Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award honoring women who have made extraordinary contributions to the publishing industry.
Vanden Heuvel serves on the boards of The Institute for Policy Studies, The Campaign for America's Future, The Correctional Association of New York, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and The Sidney Hillman Media Foundation.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and she lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Presenting the Award: Melissa V. Harris-Perry
Melissa Harris-Perry is host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry." She is also professor of political science at Tulane University. She previously served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and Princeton University.
Harris-Perry is author of the new book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale 2011). Her first book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Professor Harris-Perry is a columnist for The Nation magazine.
Harris-Perry received a B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. She lives in New Orleans.
On a sunny, crisp September 17, 2011, hundreds of protesters swarmed the financial district in New York City. Many of them were responding to a simple call to action published in the Canadian magazine Adbusters, amplified by a now-iconic Twitter hashtag:
When those protesters pitched their tents in Zuccotti Park, three blocks from Wall Street, a global Occupy Movement was born. It did not have a leader—or a manifesto other than the anger, frustration, determination, and hope wrapped up in the chant, “We Are the 99 Percent!”
Yet the message of Occupy Wall Street tapped expertly into the experience shared by a majority of Americans that our economy—and, indeed, our democracy—has failed to work for the 99 percent. Occupy Wall Street reflected a broad objection to the results of decades of government policies tilted to favor the wealthy and corporations, and the greed, corruption, and undue influence of corporations on democracy. It forced the members of the 1 percent, who criss-crossed Zuccotti Park daily on their way to brokerage houses and bank offices, to face (with the rest of the nation) workers unable to find jobs after months of searching, people who lost homes to predatory lenders, young adults crushed by student debt, and ordinary people struggling to regain faith in the American Dream.
Occupy Wall Street successfully used the power of social media and Internet video, as well as age-old principles of civil disobedience, to mobilize new supporters, capture media attention, and turn their protest into a global phenomenon that spawned actions in more than 1.500 cities. Images of nonviolent protesters being viciously beaten and pepper-sprayed by police served to galvanize and broaden support. As unions, churches, economic justice organizations, and celebrities lent support, the Occupy movement grew more diverse. United, occupiers endured harsh weather, police brutality, and nights in jail, “daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality.”
With roots in the demonstrations of British students in 2010, the Greek and Spanish austerity protests in 2011, and the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement compelled the world to engage in a debate—about economic inequality and what democracy should look like—that changed the political debate in Washington and on the 2012 campaign trail. Ultimately, the Occupy Movement bequeathed to the country a heightened awareness of the failures of our economy under conservative policies, the dangers of a democracy dominated by big money, and a hope for a more progressive society in which 100 percent of the people have the opportunity to prosper.
Presenting the Award: Barbara Ehrenreich
Barbara Ehrenreich is a well-known author and activist who has woven her passions for both into a life she calls an adventure! Barbara got her Ph.D. in cell biology but gravitated into activism joining a tiny nonprofit in New York that advocated for better health care for the city’s poor. She found herself doing investigative stories and realized how much she enjoyed writing. A few years later, a political and personal transformation took place and Barbara became a full time writer with stories in Ms. Magazine and Mother Jones. Her book, Nickel and Dimed, published in 1998, led to a second book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. The books changed her life and continue to inspire her activism. Barbara, the journalist, can’t imagine getting involved in a problem and not wanting to do something about it, whether that means marching, picketing, leafleting or helping to build an organization for social change.
The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
After having worked alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1960s, in 1971 Rev. Jackson founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) to advocate economic empowerment and expand educational, business and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color. In 1984 he founded the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization devoted to political empowerment, education and changing public policy. The Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH merged in 1996 to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue the work of both organizations and to maximize resources.
For his work in human and civil rights and nonviolent social change, Rev. Jackson has received more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees and frequently lectures at major colleges and universities including Howard, Yale, Princeton, Morehouse, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Hampton. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Rev. Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Reverend Jackson’s two presidential campaigns broke new ground in U.S. politics. His 1984 campaign registered over 1 million new voters, won 3.5 million votes and helped the Democratic Party regain control of the Senate in 1986. His 1988 campaign registered over 2 million new voters, won 7 million votes, and helped boost hundreds of state and local elected officials into office. Additionally, he won historic victories, coming in first or second in 46 out of 54 primary contests.
From 1992 to 2000, Reverend Jackson hosted "Both Sides with Jesse Jackson" on CNN. He continues to write a weekly column of analysis that is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. He is the author of two books, “Keep Hope Alive” (South End Press, 1989), and “Straight From the Heart” (Fortress Press, 1987). In 1996, Rev. Jackson co-authored the books “Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice, and the Death Penalty” (Marlowe & Company, 1996) and “It’s About the Money” (Random House, 1999) with his son, U.S. Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Rev. Jackson graduated from North Carolina A&T State University and was ordained at Chicago Theological Seminary, where he also received a Master of Divinity degree. He married his college sweetheart Jacqueline Lavinia Brown in 1963. They have five children.
Presenting the Award: Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author, Jim Hightower is spreading the message of progressive populism all across America. Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.
Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of North Texas. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).
Baratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics and served as Director of Digital for The Onion. He has written for Vanity Fair and the UK Independent, hosted Popular Science’s Future Of on Discovery Science and appears on cable news regularly to say smart things in funny ways. Then-candidate Barack Obama called him "someone I need to know." Baratunde travels the world speaking and advising and performs standup regularly in NYC. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over 30 years experience being black. His first book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller.