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Spirit of Courage Awards

It's the party of the year for California progressives! Save the Date and join Courage Campaign in Los Angeles on November 17, 2016. Learn More!

2016 United in Courage Awards

On May 10, 2016, Courage Campaign hosted the Third Annual United in Courage Awards in Sacramento to honor progressive champions in the labor community. Just blocks from the state capital, leaders of statewide progressive organizations gathered with elected officials and California workers for an inspiring evening. This year's awards honored the more than 3,000 Kaiser Mental Health Clinicians of NUHW (National Union of Healthcare Workers) for their historic campaign to restore adequate mental health care for millions of Californians, and to Tracy Surrette of CSEA (California State Employees Association) for her tireless leadership and volunteer hours to advance progressive causes in California and build bridges between her union and the larger community. Sen. Darrell Steinberg presented the award to the Kaiser clinicians. Willie Pelote, the 2015 honoree, presented the award to Surrette.

Special thanks to our sponsors: California School Employees Association, National Union of Healthcare Workers, California Federation of Teachers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Kaufman Legal Group, Siegel LeWitter Malkani, National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter, UFCW Western States Council, Fearless Advocacy, Law Office of Florice Hoffman, L.C., Mathews Law Group, Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Drug Policy Alliance, and American Civil Liberties Union of California.

2015 Spirit of Courage Awards

On September 24, 2015, Courage Campaign hosted the Fifth Annual Spirit of Courage Awards at Los Angeles Union Station. As the sun set over downtown, hundreds of guests packed the historic ticket concourse to honor three courageous leaders in the fight for a more progressive California and country. See PHOTOS from the night here!

As community activists, civil rights lawyers, and co-founders of the Advancement Project, Molly Munger and Steve English have fought tirelessly for voting rights, racial justice, access to legal services, early childhood education, and a more inclusive democracy, in California and nationwide. Connie Rice, co-founder of the Advancement Project, presented the awards.

As Head Coach and General Manager of the LA Galaxy, Bruce Arena led the team to three MLS championships in the four years and was recently awarded the U.S. Soccer Federation's highest honor for his selfless work to advance the sport. We honored Bruce for his actions as the first coach in any U.S. major league men's sport to hire an openly gay athlete, Robbie Rogers, in 2013. Rogers presented the award to his coach.

The emcee for the night was Mario Solis-Marich, broadcaster and pioneer in American Latino media.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Tom & Janet Unterman, Glen Dake and Brian Wilson & Renee Dake Wilson, Molly Munger & Steve English, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Nancy Stephens and Jamie Wolf, Sony Pictures Entertainment, United Domestic Workers of America, National Union of Healthcare Workers, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, John & Louise Bryson, US Soccer, Muriel Pollia Foundation, Weston Milliken, Lindsay & Karen Gardner, Paul Song & Lisa Ling, UNITE HERE Local 11, Jan Adams & John Lyons, AEG Sports, ACLU of California, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, Mike Stoller & Corky Hale Stoller, Streisand Foundation, Peg Yorkin, Pafco and Jihee Kim Huh & Peter Yun Huh, Cathy & Len Unger, Major League Soccer, You Can Play Project, Paula & Barry Litt, Jennifer & Royce Diener, Cornell University, David Bohnett Foundation, Martha Tolles, Advancement Project, Nick English, California School Employees Association, Tom & Brenda Freiberg, Southern California Public Radio, Drug Policy Alliance, Irene Romero, George Kieffer, Steve Rappaport, Tom Lockard, Educate Our State, Liz Hirsch, FOX Sports, Time Warner Cable Sports, and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

2015 United in Courage Awards

On June 30, 2015, Courage Campaign honored Douglas Moore, Jr., for his visionary leadership as Executive Director of United Domestic Workers of America, and his profound dedication to California’s workers and the broader progressive movement. Held at the beautiful Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento, the United in Courage Awards brings together California’s progressive leaders in the heart of the capital for a casual and celebratory evening. Presenting the award to Moore was Charisse Bremond Weaver, President of Brotherhood Crusade in Los Angeles. The inaugural Legacy in Courage Award was given to Willie L. Pelote, Sr., following his retirement from AFSCME California People. Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez spoke and presented the award to Pelote.

Special thanks to our sponsors: United Domestic Workers of America; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; California Federation of Teacher; California Teachers Association; National Union of Healthcare Workers; The California Endowment; California Nurses Association; Kaufman Legal Group; International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; UFCW Western States Council; David Binder Research; SEIU-ULTCW; Brotherhood Crusade; AFSCME 3299; Orange County Employees Association; California School Employees Association; Capital & Main; California Black Health Network; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; and Groundworks Campaigns.

2014 Spirit of Courage Awards

Wednesday night, October 1, 2014 more than 600 progressive activists lit up the Sunset Strip, celebrating at the House of Blues and presenting the 2014 Spirit of Courage awards to Tom Morello and the Rev. Frank Schaefer.  

The Spirit of Courage Award is presented, on behalf of our more than 900,000 members each fall to someone who exemplifies Courage in the fight for a more fair and just society. This year's sponsors included Live Nation, Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stone Magazine, Michael Kors, David Geffen, Janet and Tom Unterman, Jamie and David Wolf, Karen and Lindsay Gardner, Lisa Ling and Paul Song, UDW, UFCW, Unite HERE and more.

The Spirit of Courage Award for defending LGBT rights was  presented by Stuart Milk, nephew of the late Harvey Milk, to the Rev. Frank Schaefer for his courage in standing up for marriage equality.

And, the Spirit of Courage Award was presented by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt to Tom Morello for his courage standing up for free speech, economic justice and human rights. 

Tom Morello rocked the house along with a group of progressive-activist musicians who joined in the fun, including Anti-Flag, Boots Riley, Miles Solay of Outernational, Wayne Kramer, and Chad Smith.  The encores rang out one after another, with the entire crowd (some even up on the stage) joining Tom and his band in a rousing and moving version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."

It was the Fourth Annual Spirit of Courage celebration, a fun evening uniquely designed to lift up our honorees and their work as examples of courage, and to support Courage Campaign and Courage Campaign Institute.  Watch your email for details about next year's celebration!

2014 United in Courage Awards

Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers, received the inaugural United in Courage Award on April 22, 2014, during a festive evening event at The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento. Progressive leaders from every part of the state attended along with a number of California legislators.

In presenting the award, California Senate President pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg lauded Pechthalt for his courage in standing up for his beliefs and fighting to the finish to accomplish important advances for all Californians.

The United in Courage Award is given each year to a progressive leader who exemplifies courage and collaboration in the pursuit of a more fair and just society.  This year, Pechthalt was feted for his influential work in bringing together a strong coalition of partners to ensure increased and progressively-raised, state revenue for funding vital human services, including but not limited to public education in California. His current work includes fighting for school-based health care services and expanded library hours so that children in California are healthy, safe and able to achieve their goals.

The ASICS LA Marathon and Big 5K!

Thirty Courage members joined together to Walk/Run With Courage during the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon weekend on March 8 (the 5K) and March 9 (the marathon). Talk about taking steps toward progress! Some runners took 6,000 steps and some took more than 52,000, but everyone helped Courage make strides in the fight for a more fair and just society. Each team member set up a personal fundraising page online and invited friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to support the cause by making a donation.

It was a festive weekend. It's a true bonus to be able to participate in a big civic event like the city-wide marathon in Los Angeles, to enjoy the company of friends, feel healthy, and raise funds for the important work of Courage Campaign Institute. 

We're fighting for a more progressive California.
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