2017 Spotlight on Justice Honorees

BEACON OF PROGRESS AWARD: Awarded for shining a light that guides others to meaningful action to improve lives and build an equitable society

Cesar Chavez Service Clubs

Based on the values of the legendary Cesar Chavez, the Service Clubs offer innovative leadership development experiences for students at many elementary and high schools in the San Diego region. Through community service, leadership skills training, and civic participation, students build confidence and are inspired to believe in themselves and their ability to make a lasting difference.

For those of us disappointed by so many of our “leaders,” young people are a source of hope, inspiration, and motivation. This award recognizes the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs for training future leaders who know history, take their civic responsibilities seriously, and lead with love.


CATALYST FOR CHANGE AWARD:  Awarded for sparking a movement, developing an innovative program, amplifying new voices, or organizing new communities.

Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (Mid-City CAN)

Mid-City CAN is a community collaborative that organizes and advocates to create a safe, productive, and healthy community in the City Heights neighborhood. Momentum Teams of City Heights residents work on pressing issues identified by the people, currently including food justice, peace promotion, access to health care, and improving transportation.

Mid-City CAN’s teams have helped elevate the conversation about the intersection of transit, environmental justice, and economic opportunity. This award recognizes Mid-City CAN’s bold action in standing strong for community transportation needs against entrenched interests at SANDAG.


TRAILBLAZER AWARD:  Awarded for taking the lead in tackling problems in innovative ways and finding effective solutions.

United Domestic Workers of America Local 3930

UDW is a union of homecare workers, who care for family members or other community members with disabilities or other long-term care needs. For many people, these workers make it possible to stay at home rather than in institutions.

Beyond its dedication to the fight for better working conditions and fair pay, UDW Local 3930 has been active and vocal on an array of social issues that impact members’ lives, such as immigration rights, civic engagement, and racial justice. This award recognizes UDW for helping build a better community throughout the region.


VISIONARY LEADERSHIP AWARD: Awarded for having bold ideas and taking courageous action that inspires progress toward economic and social justice.

Center on Policy Initiatives Founders & Leaders

  • Donald Cohen, CPI co-founder and first executive director, now Executive Director of In the Public Interest, a national research and policy center committed to democratic control of public assets and services.
  • Mary Grillo, CPI co-founder and first board chair, former Executive Director of SEIU Local 2028, recently retired after 34 years of fighting for workers’ rights.
  • Quynh Nguyen, CPI’s first organizer, now CPI Development Director.
  • Alex Tom, founder of CPI’s Students for Economic Justice program, now Executive Director of Chinese Progressive Association, an organization that works to build power among low-income and working class Chinese immigrant communities in San Francisco.
  • Murtaza Baxamusa, PhD, CPI’s first research director, now Director of Planning and Development for the San Diego County Building Trades.
  • Clare Crawford, CPI’s second executive director and leader of the campaign for San Diego’s minimum wage, now Senior Policy Advisor with In The Public Interest.