The theme of the 2022 Tribute to Change is “We Have Each Other: uplifting community care, mutual aid, and collective joy!” We’re honoring local organizers who inspire movements for change by working with their communities to identify and address pressing needs. We are proud to honor these organizers and grassroots groups.

Meet the Honorees

Rochelle Nichols-Solomon

Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to social change throughout their lifetime.

Rochelle Nichols-Solomon is a social justice activist and educator who has dedicated nearly 50 years to improving the educational experiences and outcomes of Black and Brown public school students and their families. Rochelle was a founding member of Sisters Remember Malcolm, the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. She served on the boards of the Art Sanctuary, Youth United for Change, and the Education Law Center. She is a member of POWER Interfaith and the School Advisory Council at Powel School

Shakeda Gaines

Trailblazer Award

This award is given to an outstanding leader in community organizing who has helped to pave the way for others. 

Shakeda Gaines is an advocate for parents, students, teachers, veterans, and an activist for education and safe schools. Her passion centers around helping parents and children gain technology skills, and teaching stakeholders how to fight for a fair and equitable education throughout the school district. Shakeda was an original leader of Opt Out Philly, a campaign that provides parents with information to opt their children out of biased standardized testing. She is president of the Philadelphia Home and School Council and is the Lead Organizer at One Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

Rev. Michelle Simmons

Trailblazer Award

This award is given to an outstanding leader in community organizing who has helped to pave the way for others. 

Reverend Dr. Michelle Anne Simmons is the founder and executive director of Why Not Prosper, which supports women making the transition from prison to community. Since 2001, Why Not Prosper has helped hundreds of women discover their strength and become economically self-sufficient, contributing community members. As a formerly incarcerated woman, Rev. Simmons has a deep understanding of the needs of women in the prison system. Over the past 20 years, she has worked to enfranchise people that have been affected by the carceral system through prison outreach, missionary work, and mentorship.

Sonia Parikh

Emerging Leader Award

This award is given to an individual who is beginning to make their mark as a community organizer.

Sonia Parikh’s passion lies in community care and mutual aid. She believes that food is a human right. Sonia helped created The People’s Fridge on 52nd street in West Philadelphia, which provides free and accessible food to all. Sonia’s vision is to offer community members fresh food and essentials as a free resource and to combat hunger in underserved communities during a pandemic and economic crisis.

Philly Thrive

Victory is Ours Award

This award is given to a community organization, union, or campaign that has advanced movements for racial and economic justice. 

Philly Thrive’s organizing for environmental justice began with a rallying cry to win the Right to Breathe. Through its organizing efforts, Philly Thrive closed the East Coast’s largest and oldest oil refinery, ending 154 years of pollution in South Philadelphia. Its current campaign fights for justice in the redevelopment of the 1300-acre refinery site—organizing for a robust cleanup of the land, creation of family-sustaining jobs, reinvestment in community programs, and an end to displacement of long-term Black residents.

The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation

Robin Hood was Right Award

This award is given to an individual or group making an outstanding contribution to social change philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. 

The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation was established in 1968 to fund community-driven social change focused on children and youth in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Bread & Roses and The Douty Foundation have been sibling organizations for 50 years. In 2020, the Douty board made the courageous decision to sunset and direct all their money to local movements as quickly as possible. After their final grantmaking, they will leave their remaining assets to Bread & Roses—a gift of around $1 million—to carry on their legacy of advancing racial, social, and economic justice.

Will you help us honor these local social change heroes? Here are a few ways you can join in: