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Local progressive activist wins prestigious national award
PLAN field boss Howard Watts III has won a national honor for his work in Nevada.
Details, via PLAN:
Watts was named as one of two winners of the prestigious Mario Savio Young Activist Award.
The award, which includes a $6,000 grant to be divided equally between Watts and PLAN, was awarded to him for his work registering thousands of voters in Nevada, successfully lobbying for human rights legislation, and building alliances among a wide variety of civic organizations. The award will be presented in a ceremony at the University of California, Berkeley, on November 28, at the annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, to be given this year by progressive activist Van Jones. Past lecturers include Christopher Hitchens, Molly Ivins, Angela Davis, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich.
Watts’ co-winner, Molly Katchpole, was cited for her successful on-line campaign to stop the Bank of America from imposing ATM fees on customers withdrawing money from their own accounts.
Watts first came to PLAN as a volunteer at the age of 19. After a 6-month fellowship, he was hired on as staff and has been with PLAN for over four years, advocating for water conservation, mining tax reform, developing youth leadership, and overseeing PLAN’s civic engagement efforts.
“I am proud that PLAN is being recognized for the important work that we do. It is through the success of our strategic organizing, member group development and my amazingly talented coworkers that we are able to make Nevada a more fair and just place for all people to live. I look forward to continuing this work in 2013 and am deeply humbled and honored to be receiving this award.” Howard Watts III, PLAN Field Director.
The Mario Savio Memorial Lecture & Young Activist Award honor the eloquent spokesman for the Free Speech Movement which, in 1964, successfully fought to expand political freedom for students on the University of California’s Berkeley campus. It drew nationwide attention with the largest mass arrest in US history and stirred up activism by college students across the country. Although Savio and his fellow demonstrators were widely criticized at the time, he and the Free Speech Movement are now acclaimed and honored by the University for their struggle on behalf of student rights. The lecture and award were established after Savio’s death in 1996 at age 54.