Celebrating Movement Building at the 2014 Tribute to Change

“No matter how brave and righteous a whistleblower may be, there also needs to be an engaged citizenry ready to give their courageous acts wind under their wings. Each of the 2014 Tribute to Change honorees is blowing the whistle on injustice, and they are all demonstrating leadership that demands our attention and support.”

— Danielle Brian, 2014 Tribute to Change emcee and executive director of the Project on Government Oversight

Casey, Denise, and other Bread & Roses community members at the Tribute to Change photobooth. In a prison infirmary, a nurse refuses to force-feed a prisoner who is on a hunger strike.

In the conference room of a large private foundation, a young grassroots organization decides not to take funding that requires “toning down” their direct action tactics.

In a faculty lounge, a teacher speaks up when he hears a colleague make a racist joke about a student.

Behind closed doors, a person’s character is truly revealed. Choosing to act on your conscience in the face of injustice is morally righteous but often lonely. At the Tribute to Change on June 24, hundreds of Philadelphia-area changemakers gathered to publicly celebrate brave people who have taken enormous risks to demand freedom.

Photo of Sue Osthoff and friends at Tribute to Change.The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI received the Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award for breaking into the FBI office in Media, Pa., in 1971 to uncover evidence of FBI surveillance and intimidation.

The Trailblazer Award was presented to Sue Osthoff for her pioneering work protecting the legal rights of survivors of domestic abuse who face criminal charges.

Mia-lia Kiernan received the Emerging Leader Award for building a grassroots movement for immigrant justice.

This year’s Community Empowerment Award went to Decarcerate PA for their fight to shrink the prison system and expand community institutions that actually keep people safe.

Photo of Resource Generation members at Tribute to Change.The Philadelphia chapter of Resource Generation received the Robin Hood Was Right Award for organizing to transform philanthropy and for leveraging their collective power to make lasting structural change.

Each of these honorees has made hard decisions that were unglamorous, unpopular, or risky. At the Tribute to Change, the Philadelphia social justice community recognized and applauded these choices. However, honorees’ fights against deportation, mass incarceration, government surveillance, and unfair sentencing are far from over. Bread & Roses gives grants to grassroots organizations that carry out the fundamental daily work of organizing, dissenting, and resisting. The 2014 Tribute to Change raised more than $80,000 for Bread & Roses’ grantmaking programs to fund movements for change in the Philadelphia region.

A video about the 2014 Tribute to Change is being produced by Media Mobilizing Project and will be aired on PhillyCAM and posted on the Bread & Roses website, www.breadrosesfund.org.Photobooth photo at Tribute to Change.