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Outstanding Activists Honored at Millie Jeffrey Dinner
On May 22, 2011 Justice Caucus honored five progressive activists in Michigan at the annual Millie Jeffrey Awards Dinner. Bob King, president of the International United Auto Workers, delivered the keynote address for this year's dinner.
Bob King received the Champion of Social & Economic Justice Award. Other honorees included Doug Kelley who received the Spirit of Millie Lifetime Achievement Award, Anne Brown,Ted Phillips, Phil Reid, and Toni Sessoms who received Spirit of Millie Awards.
Dr. Doug Kelley spent his entire life as an activist and community organizer. At the age of 14 Kelley was an usher at the 1944 Democratic national convention which was held in Chicago. He served as an administrative assistant to Congressman Don Hayworth. Kelly also served in the Peace Corps doing much of his work in South Africa. He holds memberships in the NAACP and ACLU. He received a doctorate degree in adult and continuing education from the University of Michigan in the 1980s. In 2008 he campaign for then Sen. Obama in five states. And he represented our state well in 2004 when he was the roll call spokesman for the Michigan delegation at the Democratic National Convention.
Anne Bown (Spirit of Millie Award) is a school teacher in the Detroit Public School System. She has worked as the district director for State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith. She has also worked in a variety of nonprofit organizations designed to encourage voter turnout among low income and minority voters. In 2006 in 2008 she managed the successful State Representative campaign for Alma Wheeler Smith.
Ted Phillips another one of the recipients of the 2011 Spirit of Millie Award is a housing advocate. Mr. Phillips graduated from Wayne State University Law School specializing in housing law. He began his legal career in the Landlord and Tenant Clinic operated by the Legal Aid and Defender Association of Detroit. He is currently Executive Director of the United Community Housing Coalition. In his role since 2009 he had been responsible for saving almost 1000 homes from tax foreclosure. His organization had been responsible for saving the homes of 192 families. He is dedicated Tigers fan and a lifelong Detroit resident.
Phil Reid was also honored with the 2011 Spirit of Millie Award. Mr. Reid since 2004 has been a tireless Democratic activist in Oakland County. He has been instrumental in the reorganization of the North Oakland County Democratic Club. He has been honored as precinct delegate of the year by both the eighth Congressional District Democratic Committee and the Oakland County Democratic Party. In 2008 was elected as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. At the dinner he was presented with numerous awards and recognition from Oakland County State Representatives and Oakland County commissioners.
Toni Sessoms rounds out this year's recipients of 2011 Spirit of Millie Awards. Ms.Sessoms began her political activism in 1988 when she volunteered for the Dukakis for President campaign in North Carolina. Shortly after arriving in Michigan in 1993 she got involved in the Michigan Association of Justice. In 2008 she served as the Isabella County coordinator for Diane Hathaway for the Michigan Supreme Court campaign. In 2010 she ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 99th District. Despite a hard-fought campaign she was unsuccessful in her bid. She currently serves as the Fourth Congressional District Democratic Chair.
The evening was headlined by International UAW President Bob King who delivered the keynote address. Bob King spoke about the need for the progressive community to get better organized. He said it was outrageous that Gov. Rick Snyder continues to pursue a state budget that cuts education and give more tax cuts to the rich in Michigan.
Submitted by Donald Stuckey, Justice Caucus Board Member