Congressman Jamie Raskin gave a keynote speech that ignited the crowd.
The Progressive Maryland 2023 Annual Gala took place on Thursday, September 21st, and it was a night to remember with over 150 attendees. The event was a resounding success, with elected officials, community leaders, and passionate activists coming together to celebrate the achievements of the progressive movement in Maryland.
Image of event attendees listening to Congressman Jamie Raskin’s keynote address. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Congressman Jamie Raskin's powerful speech. With his unwavering commitment to upholding democracy, Congressman Raskin reminded everyone in the room that when Democrats stand together, there's no limit to what we can achieve. “Democracy is not just a static framework, Democracy is something in motion, Democracy is always growing… and we’ve got to get Democracy back on the growth track in America–and let’s start with giving everybody the right to vote and be represented,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin. He also addressed the need to put climate solutions at the forefront of our agenda to conserve the world in which we all live. His words resonated deeply, inspiring all attendees to continue fighting for the rights and well-being of working families.
Ben Jealous, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, 2018 Democratic Nominee for Governor and longtime supporter of Progressive Maryland, introduced Congressman Raskin. He is also openly hoping that Congressman Raskin will run for the soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat. “I’ve always been a fan of our Congressman and would be a huge supporter of him rethinking his decision not to run. He is a warrior, the fighter that will turn things around for us, the champion that Maryland needs,“ he stated to Progressive Maryland staff. Ben Jealous’ words about the Congressman at the Gala prompted the crowd to chant “Run! Jamie, Run!” while the Congressman was walking up to the podium to give his inspirational speech.
Congressman Jamie Raskin recieving the Courage Award from Progressive Maryland Executive Director, Larry Stafford. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.
Many other legislators showed their appreciation for Progressive Maryland through ticket contributions or simply sending their love if they could not be with us in person. The legislators in attendance at the event are as follows:
- Baltimore County Delegate Alethia McCaskill (D44B)
- Baltimore County Delegate Sheila Ruth (D44B)
- Prince George’s County Councilmember Eric Olson (D3)
- Prince George’s County Councilmember Wala Blegay (D6)
- Prince George’s County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha (D7)
- Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee Member Tiffany Jones
- Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Sharonda Huffman
- Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Jennifer Mendes Dwyer
- Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Ian Miller
- Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Connor White
- Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Member Andrew Saundry
- Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater
- Maryland Delegate Ken Kerr (D3B)
- Maryland Delegate Karen Simpson (D3A)
- Maryland Delegate Lesley Lopez (D39)
In recognition of their dedication, awards were presented to legislators, organizational volunteers, union leaders, and journalists who have played instrumental roles in advancing the progressive agenda. These individuals have been at the forefront of the movement, pushing for positive change and standing up for those who need it most. The legislators awarded with a Progressive Champions Award were Delegate David Moon, Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, Council Member Tom Dernoga, Council Member Wala Blegay, Council Member Eric Olson, Council Member Jolene Ivey, Council Member Krystal Oriadha, and Council Member Edward Burroughs.
Among some of the community leaders recognized that evening were Le Shaun Quander-Mosley, business owner and advocate for returning residents in Prince George’s County; Ricarra Jones, Political Director at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; and Travis B. Simon, Vice President of the International SEIU Lavender Caucus, Director of Political and Legislative Affairs for SEIU 500, Board Member of AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work, and passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ people.
Le Shaun Quander-Mosely receiving her award for Exceptional Leadership from Progressive Maryland Organizer, Patty Snee.
Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.
Progressive Maryland also presented two awards for Excellence in Journalism to Lindsay Watts, Emmy-winning journalist and Senior Communications Director for Prince George’s County Council Media; and William J. Ford, current reporter for Maryland Matters and formerly with The Washington Informer. “These awards recognize and celebrate the exceptional contributions of individuals who have demonstrated unwavering dedication to the principles of journalism, the pursuit of truth, accuracy, accountability, and the vital role of a free press in our society,” said Christianne Marguerite, Director of Communications at Progressive Maryland.
But the success of the gala didn't end there. Thanks to the generosity of the attendees, and the incredible artists who donated their work to the event’s art auction, a substantial amount of money was raised to further the cause of building power for working families. This financial support will enable Progressive Maryland to continue its work, advocating for policies that promote economic justice, social equality, and a brighter future for all.
"Our Annual Gala was an incredible testament to the strength and unity of our movement," said Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland. "We are immensely grateful to everyone who attended, donated, and played a part in making this event a tremendous success. By coming together and harnessing our collective power, we are paving the way for a more just and equitable society that will improve the lives of everyday working-class people."
The Progressive Maryland Team. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.
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