Center for Community Change honors inspiring leaders: Past, present and future

Written by: Lisa Ranghelli

Date: October 08, 2018

Leading national social change organization celebrates 50th anniversary and recognizes courageous leaders in the fight for justice.

It was an emotional moment for me and many others at the Community Change Champions Awards gala, where the Center for Community Change (CCC) passed the presidential torch from Deepak Bhargava to Dorian Warren after nearly 20 years of leadership.

The event also honored social justice leaders in community organizing, philanthropy and government. 

I had the opportunity to work for Deepak when Pablo Eisenberg, one of NCRP’s founders, and Andy Mott led CCC. It was great to see Deepak and Andy at the gala, and bittersweet that Pablo could not be there in person, but his spirit was present among the many former CCC board and staff that attended.

It was a personal opportunity to reflect on the mentorship I received from these three leaders and others on staff during my own tenure, and their collective impact over the span of 50 years.

Melissa Harris-Perry emceed the event, channeling the energy and enthusiasm felt by participants for Dorian Warren, incoming president of CCC, soon-to-be former vice president and president of CCC Action. She solicited sage advice for him from attendees such as director of leadership development Trish Tchume.

At the event and in writing, Warren reflected on CCC’s legacy as he laid out a bold vision for 2018 and beyond. It is grounded in CCC’s strategy developed over the last 20 years of combining community organizing with electoral engagement, increasingly focused on motivating infrequent voters and non-voters to go to the polls. He observed,

“For the first time in 50 years, all the forces necessary for progressive political success are beginning to align: The surge for justice in America is undeniably growing; demography is changing the electoral landscape, potentially in our favor; and progressives are building a model for political victory that has been 20 years in the making.

“What animates all of this, of course, is our purpose. We are and have always been about creating and sustaining genuine economic equity while building a model of multi-racial democracy and inclusion never before seen.”

In addition to recognizing Deepak’s legacy, CCC honored several others on the frontlines of creating this vision of an equitable, multi-racial democracy:

  • Champion in Community Organizing: Fair Immigration Reform Movement
  • Champion in Philanthropic Leadership: Barbara Picower, President, The JPB Foundation
  • Champion in Public Service: John Lewis, representing Georgia’s 5th District
  • Emerging Change Champion: John Jairo Lugo, Unidad Latina en Acción

NCRP congratulates all the honorees and looks forward to working with Dorian Warren and the CCC team to create a more fair, just and equitable society!

Lisa Ranghelli (@lisa_rang) is NCRP’s senior director of assessment and special projects.