The Spirit of Courage

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!

Previous Spirit of Courage celebrations

The 2013 Spirit of Courage event took place on Thursday, September 26 at the Page Museum in Los Angeles, hosted by Courage Campaign Executive Chair, Dr. Paul Song.

The Spirit of Courage Award was presented to Jamie Alter Lynton, founder of LA School Report, who has shown the courage of her convictions in her long-standing work on behald of progressive causes and organizations to make our city, state and nation more fair and just.

Moreover, the Spirit of Courage Award was also given to the named plaintiffs in the historic Prop 8 Trial.  Kristin Perry, Sandra Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo sacrificed their privacy and permitted an extradinary level of public scrutiny as they stood up for their rights during the four-year trial that started here in California and went all the way to the US Supreme Court. The ruling brought equality of opportunity in marriage again back to the Golden State and set an example for the rest of the country.

The award was presented to Jamie Alter Lynton by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the award for the plaintiffs was presented by Emmy-award winning actor Dan Bucatinsky.

In 2011, during a reception at the LA County Museum of Natural History, Rick Jacobs presented the first Spirit of Courage Award to legendary television producer Marcy Carsey whose groundbreaking work in television brought an expanded vision of diversity and American life to the millions of people who considered her shows "must-see" TV.  Her philanthropic work in subsequent years is a testament to her deep concern for others and her desire to create a more just and joyful world.

In the fall of 2012, Courage presented the Spirit of Courage Award to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for her steadfast commitment to equality and her support of homeowner rights, and the Brian and Patrick Burke for their marvelous work in creating the You Can Play Project.

Through You Can Play the Burkes are making professional sports and sports venues safe for LGBT athletes and fans alike.

United in Courage

Mr. Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers, received the 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 Josh 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, Mr. 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.

Information regarding the 2015 United in Courage celebration will be available in January of 2015. Stay tuned!


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.