An overflow crowd braved the icy rain Dec. 2 to pay tribute to three Connecticut leaders and put the People’s Weekly World fund drive over the top.

Recipients of the Amistad award were Hon. Carrie Saxon Perry, former mayor of Hartford and president of the Hartford NAACP; Kica Matos, community services director of New Haven, instrumental in establishing the first municipal ID available to all residents regardless of immigration status, and Mary Johnson, vice president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers Retirees and founder of Coalition for People.

Johnson, lauded for her consistent solidarity with workers in need, urged the crowd to “make your voices heard to your congressional, state and local elected officials about issues like universal, comprehensive, single-payer health care.”

Saxon Perry called upon those gathered to continue their activism. Recalling her third term as mayor when three People for Change candidates ousted all the Republicans from City Council, she said, “They went after us when we took up the issue of health care.”

Also recognized were Larry Deutsch and Luis Cotto, who won two of the three minority seats on the Hartford City Council in November’s election, carrying on the work People for Change began 15 years ago. “You were our inspiration,” they told Saxon Perry.

“If the labor and people’s movements sweep out the ultra-right in 2008 it will usher in a new era for people’s grassroots politics,” said Joelle Fishman, chair of the Connecticut Communist Party and the CPUSA Political Action Commission, introducing a slide presentation.

“In Latin America and around the world people are rejecting capitalist globalization and imperialist wars. Here in our communities there is a new activism bursting forth for basic human rights,” said Fishman.

The annual reception, Together as One for Peace, Equality and Workers’ Justice, was hosted by the People’s Weekly World in Connecticut on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.