Strengthening Democracy Awards: What a night!

On June 27, nearly 300 friends and supporters of Civic Nebraska gathered at the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts for the 2024 Strengthening Democracy Awards. Here's full video of the event.

On Thursday, June 27, more than 260 friends and supporters gathered at the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts on the University of Nebraska campus for the 2024 Strengthening Democracy Awards. It was a rejuvenating, joyful, and inspiring evening for all – and a rousing call to action by the evening’s keynote speaker, Tennessee State Rep. Justin J. Pearson of Memphis.
“I have faith in democracy because evil never gets the last word. This lesson that our faith must be rooted in democracy is because I have faith in you – the U.S. – the us,” said Pearson, who with another legislator was expelled from the Tennessee Legislature in April 2023 for staging a protest in support of stronger gun laws in his state. Voters overwhelmingly returned him to the seat later that year.
“I have hope and I have faith in our democracy because I know you,” he continued. “Our hope and faith in democracy can’t be rooted in who is president or not … it has to be rooted in the people whose names we never know, but whose impact is quite literally changing the fabric of the future. That’s why we’re here today; we’re celebrating the champions and defenders of democracy … (and) we must always remember that the roots of democracy upon which we rely are strong.”
Civic Nebraska honored four individuals and one group during the evening for their everyday acts to strengthen, protect, and expand our democratic way of life. They included Bob Reeves (Community Builder), Juan Carlos Huertas (Civic Catalyst), EDGE Nebraska City (Champion of Learning), Chloe Patzloff (Young Civic Leader), and Brad Christian-Sallis (The Jan Gradwohl Memorial Defender of Democracy).
The celebration also commemorated the service of Executive Director and Founder Adam Morfeld, who announced June 24 that he would be stepping down on Aug. 1 after 16 years at the helm. Director of Development Kyle Cartwright, who will serve as interim executive director, announced the creation of a new honor – the Adam S. Morfeld Founder’s Award – to be given annually to a Nebraskan for significant and transformative success in creating a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans.
“Civic Nebraska is so much more than just about one person. It’s about all of you,” Morfeld said. “It’s about making sure our democracy is truly representative no matter who they are, what they’re doing and where they are in their lives. That’s the focus of Civic Nebraska – and that mission goes beyond any one of us.”

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