Women’s Rights Award goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Whether it’s fighting for working families in the halls of Congress or setting straight a former president of the United States, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long been a champion for what is right and remains a true friend of the AFT and the communities we serve.

Nancy Pelosi

Like our members, Pelosi believes in fighting for a better life for all. And like our members, Pelosi keeps one thing top of mind as she goes about her job every day. In her own words, “It’s about the children.”

That’s why AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram presented Pelosi with the AFT Women’s Rights Award during our union’s 2022 convention in Boston. “Most people call politics a science,” Ingram said, “but to watch Nancy Pelosi do it, it’s hard to call it anything but an art form.” He praised Pelosi for her continual advocacy for children, calling her “a true public servant, determined to leave this world better than she found it.”

Pelosi is the only woman in U.S. history to have served as speaker of the House—twice.

Whether AFT members are standing up for access to healthcare, for the rights to organize and to vote, for school infrastructure, for the protection of marginalized Americans, the sanctity of our democracy or any other topic that impacts our communities, Nancy Pelosi takes the time to really listen to us at our telephone town halls, our lobby days on Capitol Hill and our protests in the streets. She urges AFT members to keep up the pressure on their representatives in Congress and speaks of the joy it brings her to meet with AFT activists.

The American Rescue Plan never would have passed without Pelosi. Because of her tenacity, trillions of dollars are being invested to help our schools, colleges, cities and towns overcome the devastation of the pandemic.

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol would not have been able to conduct its work protecting our democracy without her resolve and firm guidance. Because of her courage in the moment and her unwavering defense of the Constitution, we can thank Nancy Pelosi for safeguarding the peaceful transfer of power in January 2021.

Pelosi also led the way for AFT President Randi Weingarten, the first female president of the AFT; Liz Shuler, the first female president of the AFL-CIO; and Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the United States.

Pelosi joins a list of luminaries to receive the AFT Women’s Rights Award: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, farmworker organizer Dolores Huerta, gun violence prevention hero Gabby Giffords, educator and thought leader Diane Ravitch, and equal pay icon Lilly Ledbetter, as well as many of our own members, including AFT leaders Tega Toney of West Virginia and Maria Portalatin of New York.

In accepting the award, Pelosi thanked educators and school staff for being “the custodians of our children for a critical part of their lives” and spoke of the power of worker solidarity. “By standing together, the sisters of AFT have won greater pay equity, stronger paid leave and better protection from harassment on the job,” she said. She pledged to continue the fight to “bring the power of solidarity to more workplaces” and urged AFT members to keep up the pressure on their representatives in Congress to protect workers’ rights and “our sacred right to vote.”

[Annette Licitra]