Mikva Challenge Youth Champion Award Honoree, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, addresses the crowd at the Spring 2018 Benefit to Support Mikva Challenge DC.

Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2018) — The AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation (“ITC”) supported Mikva Challenge D.C. (“MikvaDC”) as a premier sponsor of their 2018 Spring Benefit. The event was in celebration of MikvaDC’s commitment to a creating a stronger, inclusive democracy by developing youth and empowering the next generation of informed and active citizens. MikvaDC was chaptered in 2015 using the framework of the Chicago based-Mikva Challenge, which was founded in 1997. The program started off as a tribute to former White House Counsel, Judge, and U.S. Congressman Abner Mikva and his wife Zoe, who was a teacher and education activist. Since its founding, Mikva Challenge has grown into multiple non-partisan “Action Civics” programs that serve over 15,000 students nationwide.

In the last year, MikvaDC  has showcased 27 student-led community change projects and touched the lives of more than 2,000 students in the District through two prominent programs:
– Issues to Action uses its partnerships with local teachers to engage young people by having their students discuss local issues that affect them and advocate for change.
– Project Soapbox is a District-wide public speaking tournament which gives students two minutes to address a concern that they face within their community and call for the change they wish to see.

The 2018 Mikva Challenge D.C. Spring Benefit Honorees:

Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO – Mikva D.C. Youth Champion Award

President Trumka was honored for his work inspiring the next generation of empowered youth and working people. During his speech, President Trumka recognized the role that teachers play in direct social action and how the recent national fair pay for teachers movement will help to inspire their students to become the next generation of labor leaders.

Landon Butler addresses the crowd at the Spring 2018 Benefit to Support Mikva Challenge DC.

Landon Butler, former Chairman & CEO, Landon Butler & Co. Mikva D.C. Legacy Award

Mr. Butler was honored for his lifetime of public service, and also as the inspiration behind the idea for starting a D.C. chapter of the original Chicago program.

Shelina Warren addresses the crowd at the Spring 2018 Benefit to Support Mikva Challenge DC.

Shelina Warren, Dunbar Senior High School – Inspiring Educator Award

Ms. Warren is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a former John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics National Award winner.  She sought out MikvaDC when she began to teach at Dunbar, where she teaches Youth Justice, Law/Public Policy/Constitutional Law, and African American History. Last year, her students did a project that worked to create a level of trust between their community and the police. You can read more about it, HERE.

Velonte Chambers addresses the crowd at the Spring 2018 Benefit to Support Mikva Challenge DC.

Velonte Chambers, Student, Luke C. Moore High School – Project Soapbox DC Winner

A senior at Luke C. Moore High School, Velonte Chambers was last year’s Mikva DC Project Soapbox winner. His Project Soapbox speech addressed the issue of gentrification, and can be found HERE. A member of the D.C. Council found his speech so inspiring that she offered him a paid internship in her office.

The event was held on the rooftop of the headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“IBEW”). According to MikvaDC, the proceeds from the 2018 Spring Benefit cover over a third of the program’s annual budget.

To learn more about MikvaDC, please click HERE.