All photos provided by Liz Lynch
One of our favorite times of the year is when we hold our “Retirement Security Superhero” celebration, honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to promoting retirement security for workers and retirees.
This year, we were thrilled that more than 170 attendees joined us for a fun and fabulous 43rd anniversary event at the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC. Our opening Superhero honoree, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal, told the crowd what an honor it was to receive the Pension Rights Center’s award. He said that after passing the Butch Lewis Act to protect retiree pensions in the House, he was committed to working across the aisle for a comprehensive solution and reiterated how important it is to “put a human face” on those losing pensions. Cindy McDaniel and Ken Stribling from the Missouri and Wisconsin Committees to Protect Pensions introduced Congressman Neal, comparing him to Captain America and thanking him for “flying to our rescue” by passing the Butch Lewis Act.
Other highlights of the event include a terrific video by Senator Patty Murray who said that the Pension Rights Center is “a champion for workers and retirees.” She was introduced by PRC’s Board Chair Nancy Altman who called Senator Murray “Wonder Woman” for her promotion of retirement security, especially for women. Kendra Isaacson, her Pension Counsel, accepted the award. Senator Portman was unable to appear in person, but his Legislative Assistant, Charlie Bolton, accepted the award. Senator Sherrod Brown sent a video with a congratulatory message and emphasized that he was working toward a bi-partisan compromise to address the multiemployer pension crisis, “Our government has a responsibility to keep the promise of the pensions that workers earned.” Ohio retiree activists Mike Walden and Jack Palush introduced the awards for their Senators.
The Center’s director Karen Ferguson touted the PRC’s many victories including a Strategic Convening, held earlier that day, which brought together stakeholders of all sides to begin to tackle obstacles that prevent women from getting their court-awarded shares of their ex-spouse’s retirement benefits. Karen Friedman used the superhero occasion to dress up as Captain Marvel. Later in the program she donned a baseball cap and led the crowd in a rendition of Baby Shark, the unofficial Nationals’ theme song – which Karen now attributes to securing the Nationals’ World Series victory (showing, once again, how PRC’s events are truly magic).
The event also featured the Glenn Pearson Trio and the Pension Players, jazz vocalists Deb Tidwell and Celeste Crenshaw, who sang “You Are So Beautiful” to the event’s sponsors.