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Campaign Updates

12/5/2019

Guiding Light Awards Honors Champions of the Progressive Movement

The Center for Popular Democracy Celebrated Women Driving the Movement Forward

12.03.2019

NEW YORK CITY -- The Center For Popular Democracy (CPD) celebrated this week the recipients of its Guiding Light Awards for champions of the progressive movement. The awards honored renowned activists, community leaders and a campaign that exemplify the values of the progressive movement. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday evening in Brooklyn, New York. Honorees include photographer, artist and activist Nan Goldin, Political Director of SEIU 32BJ Candis Tolliver, President & CEO of W.K. Kellogg Foundation La June Montgomery Tabron, President & CEO, the Ms. Foundation for Women Teresa Younger, and the Campaign for New York Health. 

Artist and activist Nan Goldin, most prominently known for her intimate portraiture-style photography, has leveraged her artistic power against the art world’s loyalty to the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, for their role in spreading the opioid epidemic. 

“Together we’ve taken on the billionaires that are at the base of the worst health crisis in modern history. We’ve faced them full on. We’ve focused on them through their museums and we’ve won. As always, I make out of the personal political. The work to build a just society actually requires us to do work in our own bodies. So, we continue in our struggle, and we want to expand the breath of our struggle to stand next to these people here tonight who we admire.”

Candis Tolliver, the newly promoted political director of SEIU 32BJ - the nation’s largest property services workers’ union - was honored for her work on key political campaigns in the tri-state area, including securing the $15 minimum wage law. Her work promoting progressive policies have included voting rights, fair scheduling, drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents, and much more. 

“CPD, thank you for choosing me. The work you all do to increase access to democracy, especially for communities of color, has been unmatched. Workers rights, immigrants rights, and racial justice have been the center of your work and work that we’ve done together...People’s very lives depend on what we win at the polls, in our legislative houses, in the courts, and at the bargaining table. I know that the folks in this room know what’s at stake. I’m going to vow to continue to fight alongside you in the trenches and say that we can win, we have to win and we will win.”

La June Montgomery Tabron was celebrated as the President & CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation has focused on ensuring that  vulnerable children have the opportunities to thrive in their home, school and communities. 

“It is truly an honor to be here this evening. What we do is support all of you because we are nothing without the people on the ground, every day, fighting for the causes that we care so much about. We know that for children to thrive in this nation, and in the world, they need families that can support them, that can nurture and honor them. They need communities that create spaces to care for them. Every bit of our work is about creating those places for children to thrive.”

As a champion for gender and racial justice, honoree Teresa Younger has headed the Ms. Foundation for Women in a remarkable effort to confront the most important challenges facing women of color and of low income women across the country. 

“The work that we try to do at the Ms. Foundation is about building our collective power. It’s about us being in formation to demand a world that actually reflects bigger than us. It’s about changing the past and making sure that the future holds a bigger and better tomorrow. When we’re looking for guiding lights, look no further than ourselves, and those standing next to us.

The Campaign for New York Health was awarded for its efforts to promote universal, comprehensive healthcare to every person in the state of New York.  

“My heart is so full tonight. I am so honored to be in this room amidst all of you and to have the incredible gift of honoring women who scare the devil in the morning,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center For Popular Democracy. She went on to share a special message on behalf of Ady Barkan, founder of Be A Hero PAC and fierce advocate for Medicare for All. 

“I’ve worked at Center For Popular Democracy since its founding. I’m incredibly proud of the movement we’ve built. I wish I could be with you in this moment. I wish it was my voice you heard and not this digital app. I wish it was my face you saw and not just this screen. But that will not stand in the way of the love in my message. Because it is one that you share with each other. It is a feeling that’s familiar, through affiliates and staff across the nation, I found love with each other that is unbound and rooted in shared liberation. One that I only have to revisit by watching the news as each of you keep pushing the dial towards the world we know can exist. In a time when life is being taken from me, it gives me life to see.”

Joined by hundreds of community members, philanthropists, and partners, the Guiding Light Awards celebrated the courage of members that empower and activate the communities most impacted by injustice and inequity every day. Attendees were also treated to a special performance by The Resistance Revival Chorus. 

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Photo Credit to: Sola A. For more photos or videos, please reach out to imelendez@populardemocracy.org 

Thursday, December 5, 2019