Leading consumer, worker advocates honored at 2011 Trumpeter Awards Dinner – National Consumers League

Each year, the National Consumers League honors outstanding individuals whose hard work and dedication has resulted in improving the lives of consumers and workers throughout the country. For more than 30 years, the Trumpeter Award has recognized leaders who are not afraid to speak out for social justice and for the rights of consumers. (View a photo album of this year’s awards celebration.)

“The Trumpeter Award is NCL’s highest honor, given to leaders who are not afraid to speak out for social justice and for the rights of consumers. No one fits that description better than Dr. Peggy Hamburg and Randi Weingarten,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Their dedication to improving the quality of life for workers and consumers in the United States has earned them this year’s Trumpeter Award.”

Randi Weingarten delivered a fiery address; noting that that the country is at a “crossroads” and issuing an inspiring call to action that received a standing ovation from the dinner audience.

“I’m honored to accept this Trumpeter Award, but a Trumpet Award is about voice,” said Weingarten. “I am up here to ask you, regardless of which arena you work in, to fight for Americans, fight for voice, fight for economic opportunity, fight for educational opportunity! That is our collective goal; that is what we need to do over the next several months!”

FDA Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg, who was recently named the “21st Most Powerful Woman in the World” by Forbes Magazine, spent the evening reflecting on the FDA’s long-standing partnership with NCL.

“It’s so extraordinary to look back at the shared history of the National Consumers League and the FDA,” said Hamburg. “For over a hundred years, you have advocated for improved drug and food safety laws, understanding—which many don’t appreciate today—that consumer protections can only be built on a foundation of smart and sound regulation.”

Dr. Hamburg also acknowledged NCL’s critical role in helping pass landmark FDA legislation, from the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act to the more recent Food Safety and Modernization Act, and saluted the FDA and NCL’s century of “shared history, vision, and commitment to the mission of protecting and promoting the health and safety of the American people.”

NCL also honored Paheadra Robinson, Director of Consumer Protection at the Mississippi Center for Justice, with the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s early leader and awarded to grassroots consumer advocates. Robinson, a true community activist, has built a coalition aimed at abolishing predatory payday lending throughout the state of Mississippi and co-founded the Mississippi-based Fresh Start Foundation to provide direct financial aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The dinner featured speaking appearances by Ann F. Lewis, President of the No Limits Foundation; Jennifer Donelan, reporter with ABC7 / WJLA-TV; and Martha Bergmark, Founding President and CEO at the Mississippi Center for Justice.

A night of impassioned speakers and honorees reminded the diverse audience of labor unions, advocates, and industries what a trumpet is all about. Not a quiet instrument, the trumpet is used to sound warnings, mark celebrations, and announce the presence of special people; the 2011 Trumpeter Awards did all three.