On October 11, 2007, nearly 500 members of Philadelphia’s progressive community gathered to celebrate 30 years of tireless efforts to end poverty and injustice. The evening resembled a giant family celebration. Hundreds of mini-reunions took place as activists, donors, volunteers and staff re-connected with people they hadn’t seen in years.
The event honored 30 people who have broken new ground, building paths to social justice. The honorees were diverse in every way – in the spectrum of social justice issues they work on, in age, in race, in ethnicity, and in religion – as the vibrant Philadelphia community we call home. Organizers in their teens and twenties mingled easily with Bread & Roses’ founders and activists old enough to remember the 50s and 60s.
From start to finish, the evening was spectacular. Harvey Finkle’s tribute photographs of the honored activists captured their unique spirits. The honorees were stunning and easy to identify in their red scarves silk-screened with the original logo of Bread & Roses. The scarves were also a fitting tribute to this year’s Tribute to Change co-chair, Bob Brand, who drew the original logo nearly 30 years ago.
With a jazz trio from University of the Arts playing in the background, attendees enjoyed cocktails and abundant, delicious treats. Liz Werthan and Bob Brand welcomed everyone and introduced Executive Director Casey Cook.
In Casey’s remarks, she reflected on the honorees. “They truly personify Bread & Roses. They are serious about their work, but universally have found a certain joy in the struggle. And in their down time, they live colorful lives, tell great stories, and all possess a richness of soul and spirit.” After each and every name, the crowd cheered with genuine respect, enthusiasm and admiration for these community leaders.
Tom Sugrue introduced guest speaker Dr. Manning Marable from Columbia University. In his impassioned, eloquent speech, Dr. Marable urged us to continue the fight against war, poverty, and racism in America. Tom returned with his fellow board co-chair Gloria Casarez to close the program, encouraging everyone to continue to work for social change and to continue to support Bread & Roses.
The 30th anniversary cupcakes appeared, providing the cue to continue conversations and congratulations. The evening came to a rather abrupt halt when a fire alarm was tripped accidentally. “It’s probably the only way you’d get people out of here,” said one attendee. “Everyone’s having such a good time.”
The Tribute raised $110,000 far exceeding our goal of $68,000. But the spirit of the evening was just as important as the fundraising. The contributions will allow us to continue to support change, not charity and the celebration supplied the energy and joy we all need to continue the struggle to end poverty and injustice. Once again, both bread and roses.