E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College
Many Americans know that Barack Obama spent three years as a community organizer in Chicago, but hardly any Americans know about Fred Ross Sr., perhaps the most influential community organizer in American history.
A diverse coalition of activists, clergy, and public officials are now trying to remedy that situation by asking Obama to award Ross posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. More than 150 volunteer organizers in 20 states have been rallied to build the grassroots campaign by Fred Ross Jr, — Ross Sr.’s son and veteran organizer in his own right — with the help of Eileen Purcell, a nationally respected social justice organizer for more than 30 years.
Why now? It is time to honor this unsung hero and to recognize, by extension, all organizers who continue his legacy working for social and economic justice. Read more