A Night To Celebrate in D.C.
Three United States Senators. A leading progressive organizer. The heads of major unions like SEIU, and advocacy organizations like EMILY’s List. And 150 other good friends on the rooftop of one of America’s leading unions. Last Week, Wellstone Action spent an evening at SEIU’s headquarters in D.C. celebrating 10 years of winning the Wellstone Way, and honoring two progressive leaders who inspire our movement: Senator Elizabeth Warren and Florida New Majority Executive Director Gihan Perera.
We were joined on that rooftop by friends – new and old – and had a wonderful time hearing from leaders across the movement. Our Founding Director, Jeff Blodgett, warmed up the crowd and our Board Co-Chair, Mark Wellstone, and his adorable son Bode, welcomed the crowd to the event. Senators Klobuchar and Franken both spoke about the legacy that Senator Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone left, and how today, Wellstone Action is helping to transform progressive politics. As Senator Klobuchar said, “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me, and tell me that they went to a training, and what they learned, it’s just incredible: Wellstone Action’s trained 60,000 progressive leaders in all 50 states.”
Then, Wellstone Action Executive Director, Ben Goldfarb, presented Florida New Majority (FNM) Executive Director, Gihan Perera, with the Wellstone Award for Movement Building. Perera and FNM has been a powerful partner of ours for several years and, upon receiving the award, Gihan said, “Every legit organizer, every legit campaign manager’s claim to fame is their Wellstone credentials: I was trained by Wellstone. So when I met folks at Wellstone it was like going behind the curtain and meeting the wizard.”
To cap off the night, Senator Warren received the Wellstone Award for Political Leadership. She was presented the award By SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry on behalf of Wellstone Action. Upon receiving the award, Senator Warren talked about why Wellstone Action is important to America: “This award matters to me because Wellstone Action matters to America. Wellstone Action is out there making a real difference, and the principal way they make a real difference: they get up and fight for what they believe in. You know, you can’t win if you don’t fight, and Wellstone Action knows how to be effective because they know how to fight – my kind of guys.”
We had a great time in D.C. but the good news is that the party’s just getting started. The rest of this year will be filled with ways to celebrate Wellstone Action’s 10th birthday. Most notably, on November 20th, we’ll celebrate in Minneapolis with several hundred people by honoring a few Wellstone Action alumni who are leading the fight for America’s progressive future. And I hope to see you there!