On June 23, 2022 we held our first in-person Tribute to Change in three years and it was a memorable evening. We raised more than $151,000 to support grassroots community organizers in the Philadelphia region–the most we have raised at a Tribute to Change! Thanks to the planning committee, event volunteers, sponsors, advertisers, and attendees that helped make the event a huge success.
For Ha Pham, a 2018 Gender Justice Giving Project member, giving to Bread & Roses is rooted in relationships: “I give to support my community: the work they do and the environment they create. But on a more personal level, I am motivated by my mother and my grandmother — by thinking about the things they endured in life and being aware of the system they lived within. They laid plans that grew through so many seeds. They brought me here as one of those seeds, and now I feel the need to carry their work on. I try to understand how they did so much for me by putting myself in their place and doing it for others.”
Participating in a Giving Project was a transformative experience for Pham: “It changed a lot of things for me. The Giving Project felt like everything was coming together. Being a part of that community made me feel whole — the sense of community moved me. When I hear the word ‘movement,’ I think about moving forward, determination. Like the movement that drives a protest. But the Giving Project moved me in a different way. It wasn’t movement to a destination, but more like movement into daily life.”
After the Giving Project, Pham continued her involvement by joining the 2019 Tribute to Change planning committee. She is organizing the members of her Giving Project to be a collective sponsor of the Tribute to Change.
The Tribute to Change planning committee has selected a terrific group of honorees this year. We are pleased to introduce these world builders, disruptors, inventors, and creators.
2019 Tribute to Change Honorees
Emerging Leader Award
Francisco Cortes is a Mexican immigrant and out gay Philadelphian. He intentionally and passionately advocates for immigrant and queer issues, and he currently serves as interim executive director of Galaei, a queer Latinx social justice organization.
Nancy Dung Nguyen
Nancy Dung Nguyen is co-founder and executive director of VietLEAD, a grassroots group that organizes community and youth through a lens of social justice and anti-violence, health promotion and navigation, civic engagement, and community building projects.
Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award
Ron Whitehorne advances education justice, workers’ rights, racial equity, and more through his commitment to groups like the Rainbow Coalition, Transport Workers Union, Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, Youth United for Change, and 215 People’s Alliance.
Robin Hood Was Right Award
In 2016, Kara Tennis started on a journey of learning that redirected her focus to racial justice. Her work now includes paying direct reparations, fundraising for Bread & Roses, coaching other privileged people about white supremacy culture, and making and selling artwork through Justice Jewelry. She was a member of the 2018 Gender Justice Giving Project.
Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities (PCAC)
Victory is Ours Award
PCAC is a citywide coalition of 65 community, disability, faith, labor, and urban agriculture groups that successfully organizes to win land and money for affordable, accessible housing, and green space.
Victory is Ours Award
Urban Creators, a diverse group of young students, artists, activists, organizers, and entrepreneurs, transformed a 2-acre garbage dump in North Philadelphia into Life Do Grow urban farm, a sanctuary and platform for organizing and nourishment.
These determined, imaginative organizers and grassroots groups are leading the way towards our shared vision of an abundant, just, and equitable future. Learn more about the 2019 Tribute to Change here.
“There are very few places you can go to school to learn how to be an activist,” says Kathy Black, a longtime member of the Bread & Roses Community Fund family who is currently serving on the Tribute to Change planning committee. “In social and economic justice movements, it’s inspiring leaders that draw people to the work,” she notes. “Those leaders need to be responsible, competent, and compelling, but they also need to be teachers in order to pass the work on.”
To commemorate Bread & Roses’ 40th anniversary, the Tribute to Change planning committee chose to focus this year’s awards on leaders who nurture new leaders. “A number of us thought about the throughput in leadership that we see in the hands and actions and campaigns and basebuilding from that 40-year beginning through today,” explains Hannah Sassaman, another planning committee member. “Every organizer and activist who’s active now benefited from the grace and vision, patience, and time of someone who wanted to invest in and develop their leadership.”
By acting as educators and mentors, these leaders look beyond their present moment to ensure that movements for change can thrive over generations. They meet people where they are and create spaces where new activists can learn, grow, and make mistakes. “I’m certainly grateful that I’ve had mentors and people who share with me their knowledge and their wisdom and their histories that I have been able to pass on to younger activists,” says planning committee member David Acosta. “It’s always a reciprocal relationship. It should never be one-sided or hierarchical. Older people can learn from younger people as well.”
People who nurture new leaders don’t always get acknowledged for performing this essential role in movement work. “Getting recognition or attending events, that’s a shot in the arm,” says Black. “You need those things to happen to keep up your motivation and your energy. You frequently have setbacks and terrible disappointments, so you have to build in celebrations and rewards to keep this momentum going, to keep you fired up and recharged.”
For 40 years Bread & Roses has invested in movements that invest in people. “Marking the progress of our organizing in Philly and recognizing our history in building power here, even though we have a long way to go, is extremely important in these times of crisis,” says Sassaman. “There’s nothing more important today than building thousands or millions of people who believe in their power to wrest a life of dignity from the jaws of oppression in late-stage capitalism.”