By Katie Jonckheer
February 17th was a momentous day at the Pension Rights Center. As we wrote in our most recent blog, this day was PRC’s 46th anniversary and the birthday of our founder Karen Ferguson, who sadly died on December 23rd, 2021.
To honor Karen’s legacy and celebrate the PRC, we spearheaded a Twitter storm with our colleagues at Social Security Works, joining with them and many other organizations, colleagues and friends to use the hashtag #RetirementSecurityforAll to raise awareness about retirement issues on social media. There were dozens of Tweets over the hour-long Tweet storm from retiree and women’s groups, foundations, government agencies, unions, academics and business partners.
From the RRF Foundation for Aging:
After a lifetime of hard work, people deserve to retire with dignity. That was the vision of Karen Ferguson, who founded @pensionrights in 1976. Her vision is our vision. #RetirementSecurityForAll
From the Administration for Community Living (ACL):
Today is the 46th anniversary of our partners at @PensionRights and the birthday of late PRC founder Karen Ferguson. We honor Karen’s tireless advocacy for the principle that everyone should be able to retire with dignity and security. #RetirementSecurityForAll
From the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT):
Today is the 46th anniversary of our friends at @PensionRights and the birthday of late PRC founder Karen Ferguson. Karen was a pension warrior, responsible for expanded pensions for workers, retirees, spouses, and widows. #Teamsters share her vision. #RetirementSecurityForAll
From the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:
To honor the legacy of Karen Ferguson @PensionRights, we underscore our commitment to #RetirementSecurityForAll
From Justice in Aging:
Women over 65 are 2x as likely as men to face poverty in old age, a disparity that’s greater for African American & Latina women. We support Karen Ferguson & @pensionrights’s vision of a universal retirement system & strengthened Social Security system. #RetirementSecurityforAll
You can read more Tweets from people who participated in the Twitter storm here.
In addition to the Twitter storm, we were also honored to have four Senators and two Members of Congress Tweet and issue statements about Karen’s life and legacy. Below are some quotes from what they said:
From Senator Patty Murray, the Chair of the Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions:
“Under Karen’s steadfast leadership, the Pension Rights Center has been at the forefront of ensuring retirement security for all, from retirees in struggling multiemployer pension plans to women obtaining spousal shares of retirement plans to countless individuals seeking assistance through one of the center’s pension counseling projects. The Pension Rights Center was Karen’s gift to all of us.”
Read Senator Murray’s full tribute to Karen Ferguson here.
From Senator Ron Wyden:
“On this double anniversary, I urge my colleagues to reflect on the progress that has been made so far in improving retirement security in the United States and to double down in our efforts to fight for further improvement.”
Read Senator Wyden’s full tribute to Karen Ferguson here.
From Senator Sherrod Brown:
“Karen Ferguson will be remembered for a lifetime of service on behalf of workers and their families, and the compassion and skill she brought to our efforts. Her legacy will continue through the millions of past, current, and future workers and their families who will have a more secure retirement thanks to her work.”
Read Senator Brown’s full tribute to Karen Ferguson here.
From Senator Elizabeth Warren:
“As recently as this past March, Karen’s impact can be seen in the passage of the Butch Lewis Act, which helps protect the benefits of workers and retirees in multiemployers plans. We are deeply grateful for Karen’s work and can honor her legacy by continuing to fight so that everyone can retire with dignity and security.”
Read Senator Warren’s full tribute to Karen Ferguson here.
From Congressman Richard Neal, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee:
“Karen was a leader on an issue that is of particular importance to me; namely, the retirement security of workers, retirees, and their families. For over 45 years, Karen was significantly involved in protecting pensioners rights through the development of pension legislation in Congress, and recently I witnessed her tireless advocacy first-hand as we worked to enact the Butch Lewis Act.”
Read Congressman Neal’s full statement here.
From Congressman Bobby Scott, Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor:
“Karen Ferguson founded & led the Pension Rights Center for decades ensuring workers & retirees received their hard-earned pensions. Today we honor Karen’s memory by celebrating the PRC’s 46th anniversary and renewing our commitment to protecting Americans’ retirement security.”
See the full Tweet here.