As part of the press covering the event, I was able to meet several of the award recipients, including Paulette Meyers, David Friedman and Sonja Sohn (pictured with me to the right).
I also met Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, which held the awards, as well as several of the people from the CCC board and the AFL-CIO.
Two things struck me most about the evening.
First, as I was waiting for the event to start in the lobby, one of the ladies from the CCC explained to me that the event was a mini-reunion of sorts. Activists and community leaders who hadn’t seen each other in years were encountering each other here so often that every few minutes, you’d suddenly see someone run up and hug another person – literally run up for a hug.
It’s just an inspiring thing to see – people who love and believe in what they’re doing, happy to see other people in the same field.
Second, no matter how famous, “important”, or little known any person in the room was, everyone was treated with equal respect. For example, when I went backstage to have a quick visit with Sonja Sohn before the event, despite the fact that she was being pulled in a million directions, she was incredibly warm and friendly.
Another example – every single award recipient got a standing ovation, before and after Acceptance speeches, all night. I’ve been to many of these, and non-profit or not, that kind of universal total appreciation is not common.
In future days there will be more video, an interview and other updates, here and in other parts of the web. For now, enjoy the edited and updated Liveblog below. Don’t forget to visit the Center for Community Change online, follow them on Twitter, and join their Facebook page.