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February 7, 2010
by Rochelle Lefkowitz, president & founder
It is with deep sadness that I write to announce the death of Beth Shulman, who died mid-day Friday, February 5, 2010, of pneumonia, a complication of the malignant brain cancer that took her from us far too soon.
Since 2003, to promote Beth’s landmark book, The Betrayal of Work (New Press, 2003) and her work–thanks to an introduction by the Communications Consortium and then six years of support from the Russell Sage Foundation–Pro-Media had the privilege of working with Beth, one of the most effective voices for low-wage workers, economic and social justice I’ve ever encountered.
Others are already acknowledging Beth’s many impressive successes—from chairing both the board of the National Employment Law Project and the Fairness Initiative on Low Wage Work, and her board memberships in American Rights @ Work and Wider Opportunities for Women, to being a Senior Fellow at Demos, former VP of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and co-authoring an upcoming book on good jobs.
But it was not just what Beth did or her accomplishments that were significant, but how she was able to do all that she did, which distinguished her and inspired others.
A born social change agent, Beth made everyone in her presence feel special, important, equal and empowered. Whether you were Oprah Winfrey or the security guard at the studio, one of hundreds of journalists she spoke to about raising the minimum wage or a waitress at a diner, a top foundation executive or an entry level staffer at Pro-Media, Beth treated you with the same warmth, respect, dignity and enthusiasm that made you want to work harder to raise the minimum wage or secure paid sick days for low-wage workers, and so much more. She made these and so many complex policy challenges seem simple, achievable—and only fair.
Busy even by today’s extreme work standards, Beth always took time—to grab a cab to a last-minute interview, to ask how your project was going, to appreciate her husband’s steady support, to speak with pride about her colleagues’ achievements or her son’s. She taught me that until there’s economic justice, to leave a cash tip in hotel rooms for the women who cleaned them.
Her core belief in the power of mobilized, good people moved scores of rooms full of hundreds to give her standing ovations, hardboiled journalists who’d seen everything to look again and everyone who encountered Beth, in person, in the media, online or on paper to believe they counted and could and would help make this world better. She believed people could change, if you appealed to their best selves. Now it’s up to us to take in a bit of her magic, commitment and kindness to our own lives and take on her work.
One of the last times I saw Beth, she stopped our conversation to make sure we both could marvel at the freshly fallen snow.
An expression of Beth’s that I plan to keep using as she did for the rest of my days is: “We can make different choices.” Beth Shulman taught me in so many ways, that we can. And Beth, thanks to knowing you, we will.
October 27, 2009
National People’s Action George Goehl appeared on MSNBC this morning (Oct. 27) to discuss the Showdown in Chicago. Pro-Media Communication continues its work with NPA to promote the taxpayer protests taking place in Chicago. For more information contact Coco Chang at (212) 245-0510.
October 16, 2009
Here’s the latest Pro-Media produced video for one of our clients. This video, produced on behalf of the Human Services Council, explores the meaning of human services. It aims to explain what human services are and why they are necessary, especially by the underserved within communities in New York. Enjoy!
October 13, 2009
National People’s Action is among many sponsors of the “Showdown in Chicago.” A series of demonstrations of thousands of Americans will take to the streets of Chicago to demand a banking system that puts the American people first and a Congress that makes it happen!
This podcast features one group of people headed from the Northwest Bronx in New York to Chicago and the perspective of National People’s Action Executive Director George Goehl.
September 23, 2009
In case you missed it, this clip from My FOX 5 features Pro-Media Communications client the Human Services Council is now available online. The segment focuses on the Human Services Council’s report “The Helpers Need Help.” Enjoy!