fresh voices from the front lines of change







Two Occupy movement volunteers, a Chicago community organizer, an Atlanta health care activist and a crusader against "prison-based gerrymandering" have been nominated for the annual Maria Leavey Tribute Award, which honors an unsung progressive hero. The deserving person you select will receive the award at the June 18-20 "Take Back the American Dream" Conference.

The five finalists were announced earlier today on our conference website, and now the voting begins to select a winner. Click here to meet the finalists and cast your vote.

Then register for the Take Back the American Dream conference and plan to join Paul Krugman, Van Jones, Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Hayes, Sandra Fluke and many more at our conference, where the honoree will be announced. (You don't have to register for the conference to vote for an award recipient. But we hope you will do both.)

A panel of Maria Leavey's friends and colleagues selected five progressive champions to be the award finalists. They include:

  • The Occupy and 99% Spring activist who helped spark a movement with her years of experience in nonviolent creative direct action.
  • The prison reform advocate who exposed the practice of counting prisoners when drawing congressional districts, even though most prisoners cannot vote.
  • The New York community organizer who forged powerful coalitions between labor, communities of color and Occupy Wall Street.
  • The Chicago community organizer who has stopped mass school closings, blocked policies designed to evict the poor from public housing and helped create 5000 summer jobs.
  • The lifetime activist who hasn’t let four surgeries in the last three years stop her from launching local “Move Your Money,” “Rebuild The Dream” and “March for Women’s Health” campaigns.

Online voting will continue until 11:59 p..m. EDT on May 15, 2012.

By recognizing these selfless heroes, we hope to inspire more people to follow in the footsteps of Maria Leavey, a tireless and brilliant organizer who didn't need the spotlight to spark progressive change. Cast your vote for one of these hard-working progressive workers, then join us at Take Back the American Dream from June 18-20 so we can put in place the progressive change to which Maria dedicated her life.

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