"What a fantastic event!!! The DC Vote dinner was the center of the DC political universe last night."
-- a first time attendee to our 2010 Champions of Democracy dinner.
We all heard from veterans of our annual dinner that "this was the best program ever," that they were "inspired," and "ready to fight."
Something special happened Tuesday night at the Mayflower Hotel.
At a moment when the economy and the political challenges we face could have resulted in a small crowd or a defeatist attitude, we had the opposite. The ballroom was filled to capacity. People said they were leaving a "fabulous" evening "energized for the fight" for DC democracy.
Genuine and intimate comments were made about our 2010 Champions - Smith Bagley, Kathy Schmidt and Andy Shallal.
Attendees included Chris & Kathleen Matthews, Congresswomen Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), DC City Councilmembers Kwame Brown, David Catania, Mary Cheh, DC Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi, University of the District of Columbia president Dr. Allen Sessoms, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson and more.
On Tuesday, October 12, 2010, DC Vote honored these Champions of Democracy:
Smith Bagley (posthumously)
Businessman, philanthropist and political activist, Smith devoted most of his life to supporting social justice causes like civil rights, global democracy and international human rights. As the president of the Arca Foundation, he consistently supported countless progressive, cutting-edge organizations including DC Vote. Smith suffered a severe stroke and passed away peacefully at the age of 74 in January 2010.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) explains, "I most admired Smith because he lived in declaratory sentences-straightforward, honest and open. He taught me to think big and without conventional boundaries. He taught me to take risks." In DC Vote's final meeting with Smith, he urged us to "fight for statehood - go for the whole thing, Ilir!" In classic fashion, his ideas were both bold and prescient. Just months after this conversation, the DC Vote Board expanded our mission and chose steps to full democracy and statehood as our next campaign.
She could be called the grandmother of DC Vote. From the beginning, Kathy was a steadfast leader and supporter of DC Vote's work. Together, Kathy and her husband Al were plaintiffs in the Alexander vs. Dailey lawsuit, which set the stage for the founding of DC Vote. In order to introduce DC Vote to the community, Kathy went to nearly 90 ANC and civic association meetings in 1999 and 2000 across DC. With Al as her faithful chauffeur, she secured unanimous respect and interest in the work of DC Vote.
Among numerous other efforts, Kathy worked with others to lobby the League of Women Voters to make this issue a priority and became the official liaison between DC Vote and the League. She served on the search committee that hired Ilir Zherka and later, on the Board of Directors. Kathy credits DC Vote with helping her get over her hatred of public speaking.
An Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurant owner, Andy infuses Washington, DC with good food, soulful art and progressive inspiration. His four highly successful restaurants combine delicious experiences with cultural exchanges. Every night of the week his restaurants host conversations and performances on democracy and social justice. In the Washington City Paper's 2010 Readers Poll, Busboys and Poets beat out the National Mall as the "best place to take an out-of-towner."
Andy's Busboys & Poets restaurants are known as homes for activism and social justice in Washington, DC, including the struggle for DC democracy. Andy has hosted countless DC Vote meetings and events, created powerful murals on the DC democracy movement and strongly advocated for DC voting rights. In December 2006, he penned a Washington Post opinion piece asking, "My Vote Counts in Iraq. So Why Not in Washington?"
- Jane & Daniel Solomon
- Richard & Lois England
- Lawrence & Lillian Solomon Foundation
- Trish & George Vradenburg
- Laurie Wingate & Mark Chandler
- The Arca Foundation
- Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
- Diane & Norman Bernstein
- CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Louie & Ralph Dweck
- Jenner & Block
- Pepco Holdings, Inc.
- Kathy & Al Schmidt
- Elizabeth A. Allen & Kendal H. Tyre
- Arent Fox LLP
- Marque Chambliss & Sheryll Cashin
- Gretchen Gardner & Josh Pokempner
- Rena Pokempner Gordon & Michael Gordon
- The Meltzer Group
- Patton Boggs LLP
- Andy Shallal
- Bruce Spiva & Anna Gelpern
- The Spiva Law Firm PLLC
- United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 400
- Katrina vanden Heuvel
- Verizon Washington, DC
- The Campaign Workshop
- Chadwick Cipiti Studios, Inc.
- Forest City Washington
- Jackson & Campbell, P.C.
- Louis & Linda Kaplan
- John Klenert
- Jodie Levin-Epstein & Barry Zigas
- Charles A. Miller
- Stefan & Gissel Nicholas
- PNC Bank
- Palm Facility Services
- Joseph Perta
- Sarah Pokempner & Jerry Levine
- Johnathan Rodgers & Royal Kennedy Rodgers
- Joe Sternlieb & Linda Singer
- Kathy Swayze, Impact Communications
- The University of the District of Columbia
- The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
- George Wasserman Family Foundation
- Elizabeth Wiener & Lloyd Leonard
- Harold & Nancy Zirkin
- Margot Aronson & Ed Levin
- Bank of Georgetown
- Patricia Bauman
- Thomas Blanton & Marsha Lillie-Blanton
- Dominique Bravo & Eric Sloan
- Elizabeth Brister-Franks - League of Women Voters - and B. Don Franks, Ph.D.
- DC Appleseed Center
- Edwin & Sara Davis
- Donald R. Dinan, Esq.
- G. Richard Dodge, Jr., Athena Robles and Lucky Dodge
- Debbie Goldman
- Ken Grossinger & Micheline Klagsbrun
- Edwin E. Huddleson
- Aviva Kempner
- Roger & Belle Kuhn
- The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights
- The League of Women Voters Washington, DC
- Debra Fried Levin & Josh Levin
- Paddy & Darlene Meskell
- Ruthanne & Robert Miller
- Jack H. Olender & Associates, PC
- Lawrence Ottinger & Cinthia Schuman
- Elaine Reuben
- US Action
- The Washington Alumni Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi, Incorporated
- Barbara T. Yeomans
- Nan Aron
- The Bernstein Companies
- Janet Bogue & Paula Newberg
- Mary Eva Candon
- Madlyn Calbert
- Lee Cohn
- Cheryl Cort
- Caroline Croft
- Alex Dickson
- Jewell & Guido Fenzi
- Ron & Cindy Godby
- Vivian Heywood
- Joseph & Lynne Horning
- Natalie Howard
- Jane Jorgensen
- Deborah A. Katz
- Dale Kaufman & Stephen Klatsky
- Sheila Keeny
- Joan & Robert Kocher
- Joanna London
- Anne & Alan Morrison
- Anne Li & Ed Muldoon
- Elizabeth M. Martin
- John T. Mathison, President NaCCRA
- Paula McKann
- Augustus Nasmith, Jr.
- John & Ellena O'Toole
- Lars Peterson
- Betty & Don Rack
- Leona J. Rumsey
- Dorothy Sargeant
- Donald Sherman
- Winifred A. Shuttleworth
- Ambassador & Mrs. Dane Smith
- Nicholas Smith & Andrea Pedolsky
- Don & Katherine Snook
- Benjamin & Lori Soto
- Barbara Stout
- Constance Tate
- Audrey E. Thompson
- Therese Van Houten
- Marlene & Stanley Watkins
- Charles & Carolyn Wellso
- Elizabeth Yancey