2016 Award Winner

Cindy Sheehan

The officers and directors congratulate Cindy Sheehan as the 2016 Debs Award winner.

Ms. Sheehan is an anti-war activist and a lifelong and public admirer of Eugene V. Debs.  She gained national attention during her campaign in opposition to the Iraq War after her son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in action near Baghdad on April 4th of 2004.

Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan, the 2016 Eugene V. Debs Award Winner

Her media exposure came after she set up a makeshift camp outside of President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch to protest the Iraq War.  The camp, sometimes referred to as “Camp Casey”, attracted thousands of supporters and drew tighter focus to the many salient objections to US involvement in Iraq (and to war in general).

She, like Debs, has run for office many times, including for Vice-President of the United States on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket as well as in congressional and gubernatorial races.

Ms. Sheehan has maintained her anti-war activism through the years, through efforts such as becoming a tax resister, speaking at events, planning and attending demonstrations, and speaking out against war in the media. She has authored seven books, Not One More Mother’s Child, Dear President Bush, Peace Mom, Myth America, Revolution, A Love Story, I left My Marbles in San Francisco, and The Obama Files, as well as having appeared in several documentaries.

In addition to her other work, she was a founding member of Gold Star Families for Peace an anti-war organization which brings together families who lost relatives in the Iraq War.  Cindy now hosts a radio program, The Soapbox.

2016 Awards Musical Guest



For more than forty-two years MAGPIE, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have brought their unique sound and remarkable versatility to audiences everywhere, featuring traditional and vintage American folk music to contemporary and stirring original compositions. With two strong voices in harmony and superb instrumental arrangements, their sound is powerful and moving. Award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, composers, musical historians, playwrights, screenwriters, actors and social activists, Terry and Greg are proud to be, as Pete Seeger said of them, “…more links in the chain,” dedicating their lives and music to leaving this world a better place.

Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner are Magpie, our 2016 Musical Guests

They hail from industrial union country in northeast Ohio. Terry was born in Akron and grew up in nearby Cuyahoga Falls. Her father was a union leader among his fellow rubber workers during the days when the unions were organizing there. Greg was born and grew up in Canton, Ohio, the place where Eugene Victor Debs delivered the famous speech that landed him in federal penitentiary in 1918. Following Debs’s example, Greg was a conscientious objector during the war in Vietnam. As musicians, Terry and Greg are career-long members of the American Federation of Musicians, and are also proud members of the IWW. From 1974, when the Magpies first landed in Washington, DC, until he passed away in 2006, Greg and Terry accompanied “labor’s troubadour” Joe Glazer on every recording he made.

Terry and Greg have been singing about working men and women for their entire career, and their performances of these songs are second to none. They are diligent students of the various styles of music in American history, so their arrangements and presentation of songs spanning the history of the labor movement are true to the times and intentions of the writers, and always engage the audience in singing along. Terry and Greg’s work continues to reflect their own life experiences as they frequently raise their voices in support of the ongoing struggles for workers rights, civil rights, freedom, justice, and peace.