Battle Born Progress Announces Date Change for Virtual Gala Honoring Community Champions - Battle Born Progress
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Battle Born Progress Announces Date Change for Virtual Gala Honoring Community Champions

CONTACT: Will Pregman,, 702.752.0656 

RSVP for Press Credentialing 

All press MUST RSVP

Battle Born Progress Welcomes Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Governor Steve Sisolak to Virtual Fundraiser Gala

Nevada progressive leaders, activists, and organizations to be honored virtually at Battle Born Progress annual fundraiser, Celebrate Progress

NEVADA – Battle Born Progress’ annual fundraising event, Celebrate Progress, will now be held virtually on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Each year, Celebrate Progress aims to recognize the exceptional work of Nevada’s progressive leaders, activists, volunteers, and community organizations. 

Delivering a keynote address during the event will be former Congresswoman from Arizona and founder of Giffords, Gabby Giffords.

Giffords, who survived a shooting in 2011, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the gun violence prevention, providing support for states like Nevada to make policy that encourages gun safety and lowers gun crime. 

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak will also address event attendees as a special guest speaker, honoring former Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall in her receipt of the Progressive Leader of the Year award for 2021.  

This year, Celebrate Progress will be Co-Chaired by Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton and Battle Born Progress board members Brian Lee and Craig Valdez. For the second time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held online. Tickets for the event and sponsorship opportunities can be found here

*DISCLAIMER: Battle Born Progress (BBP) is a 501(c)4 nonpartisan organization, and does not make endorsements. Celebrate Progress is a fundraiser for BBP, NOT for any candidate or party. 

For 2021, Battle Born Progress will recognize the following honorees: 

2021’s Progressive Leader of the Year is former Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall. Marshall grew up in working-class neighborhoods in San Francisco as the eldest of six children. Marshall was elected Nevada’s State Treasurer in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, where she worked to get rid of no-bid contracts and off-the-book accounts, reduced spending, and making government more efficient by identifying innovative methods to increase economic development for businesses in Nevada. As Lieutenant Governor, Marshall was a prominent member of Governor Steve Sisolak’s cabinet and served as President of the State Senate. There, she oversaw and facilitated the passage of groundbreaking progressive legislation to strengthen voting rights, increase access to health care, and protect and grow Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy. Nevada will miss her dearly as she moves to accept a new job in the Biden administration. 

The Progressive Legacy Award for Northern Nevada will be given to Marlene Lockard. Lockard has over 30 years of government and private sector leadership, serving as Nevada’s first female Chief of Staff under then Governor and former U.S. Senator Richard Bryan. Lockard’s background in public policy, technology and government process led her to form her own consulting firm in 2003, The Lockard Group. Lockard has represented numerous clients on behalf of their government affairs and issue advocacy needs and has a long record of involvement in community activity, serving as Chair for the Domestic Violence Resource Center Board, legislative advocate for the Nevada Women’s Lobby, founding member of the Nevada Coalition for Women’s Equity, member of the Washoe County School District Volunteer Services Advisory Board, past Chair for the Nevada Women’s Fund, and a former member of the College of Engineering Advisory Board for UNR.

Southern Nevada’s Progressive Legacy Award will go to Bradley Schrager. Schrager, a country boy from downstate Illinois who has lived in Nevada for fifteen years, is best known as an election lawyer, working diligently to protect voting rights and, most recently, helping to beat back anti-democratic attacks over the course of the 2020 election cycle. Schrager has also worked extensively on behalf of low-wage workers, for whom the struggle against wage theft is a fight every day of their lives. The team at his law firm, Wolf Rifkin, has put over $30 million back into the pockets of Nevada’s minimum wage employees in recent years. 

The Northern Nevada Progressive Activist of the Year Award will be given to Jennifer Ann Cantley. Cantley is a mother of three boys, a Reiki Master and Teacher, and owner of her consulting firm One Source Network LLC, which is now growing into a nonprofit called One Source Action, to better serve rural and underrepresented communities of Nevada. Cantley started consulting for Moms Clean Air Force four years ago by opening their Nevada chapter, after being a member for six months, to unite against air pollution – including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health. Jennifer’s latest heart project is to help the Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) of the Fort McDermitt Reservation to protect their people from the Thacker Pass lithium mining project.

The Southern Nevada Progressive Activist of the Year is Akiko Cooks. Cooks left her native state of California after completing training as a psychiatric technician, settling in Las Vegas, Nevada. She thought that she found her calling as the founder, owner, and operations executive of two large behavioral treatment facilities there until an unexpected wake-up call roused her. In 2019, photographs of Akiko’s teenaged son, along with eight other Black children, were circulated on social media targeting them for what was called, “Columbine 2” by three other students at his school. The school’s and local law enforcement’s lethargic responses thrust Akiko into action and onto her present trajectory. Organizing with parents of the other targeted youth, Cooks co-founded #1865 No Racism in Schools. Cooks is also a Community Organizer with the Mass Liberation Project NV, a de-incarceration grassroots activism project focused on ending mass incarceration in Nevada, and beyond.

The Community Service Award will be given to Lisa Levine. Levine is the principal and founder of Sagebrush Strategies, a public affairs firm specializing in business development, community and government relations. She spent more than a decade working in Nevada politics and government, including serving as the longtime political director and senior advisor to Congresswoman Dina Titus. Levine was appointed to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents by Governor Steve Sisolak to help mitigate budget cuts in the midst of the pandemic. She continues to be an education advocate by participating in the UNLV Alumni Advocacy Committee, Million Women Mentors of Nevada, Public Education Foundation, and Women’s Research Institute of Nevada. She’s an appointee to the Nevada Legislative Statutory Committee on Industrial Programs and previously served on the board of NSPCA and was an appointee to Clark County’s Animal Advisory Board. Home means Nevada for Levine, her longtime partner Andrew, and their treasured shelter pets Lacey & Samara. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in public affairs at UNLV.

2021’s Rising Progressive Leader will be awarded to Taylor Patterson. Patterson is an enrolled member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and lifelong Nevada resident. She is the Executive Director for Native Voters Alliance – Nevada, an organization that promotes Native American engagement at all levels of the political process as well as promoting Native concerns. She continues to fight for recognition of Indigenous people and issues at all levels.

This year’s Voice of Reason Award will be presented to Jeff Gillan. Gillan is an award-winning veteran broadcast journalist, whose career has spanned four states, five stations and many memorable moments. It’s been a 30-plus year career with a front seat to history. Gillan joined KSNV-TV in November 2009 as Managing Editor. In 2013, he moved from management back to the anchor desk, debuting KSNV’s 3PM. newscast to top ratings. In 2015, Gillan moved to full-time reporting. His work that year earned him an EMMY nomination for Best Reporter and earned him an EMMY for his role covering The Cosmopolitan fire. In 2018, Gillan won an EMMY for Best Reporter for his work in 2017. Gillan’s technique as a thoughtful and intelligent interviewer has secured his legacy as an exceptional Nevada journalist. 

The Progressive Partner of the Year will be awarded to both the Nevada Justice Association (NJA) and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)

The NJA is an organization of independent lawyers who represent consumers and share the common goal of improving the civil justice system. Their members are fierce advocates for access to justice, fairness and ensuring every Nevadans’ voice is heard and their rights protected. NJA strives to educate and arm our members with the best information and education possible to make them the best lawyers in the country. NJA believes in people over profits.

PLAN was founded in 1994 by Northern Nevada activists to build a fair and just Nevada that puts people and planet first. PLAN organizes with front line communities and directly impacted leaders to fight for community investments and policy changes that improve people’s lives. Since 1994, PLAN has grown from 12 original founding member groups to a current membership of nearly 30 organizations, labor unions, and direct service NGOs, including Battle Born Progress. PLAN works together in strategic alignment with these partners to build progressive power in Nevada.

The 2021 Progressive Business of the Year is Gaia Flowers. Gaia Flowers is a locally owned and operated flower shop. Based in Las Vegas, they offer fresh, sustainable products all across the valley. Gaia Flowers supports local artists, gardeners, nonprofits, and Southern Nevadans who have as much passion for Mother Earth as they do.

Photos and Biographies are available for all honorees.

Event Details:

Who: Battle Born Progress
Keynote Speaker: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords
Special Guest: Governor Steve Sisolak

What: Annual celebration to recognize the unstoppable work of progressive leaders, advocates, and organizations in Nevada. 

When: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 at 6:00PM PST

Where: Virtual. Link to be announced, provided with RSVP. 

Designated spokespeople are available for interviews in Spanish or English.

Celebrate Progress is open to the media. 

For press, RSVP HERE or contact Will Pregman,, 702.752.0656.

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About Battle Born Progress: Battle Born Progress, through strategic communication efforts, empowers, engages and mobilizes Nevada voters to build a state where everyone has a fair opportunity to succeed. We support, engage, and mobilize the progressive community through bold leadership, strategic communications, accountability, and education. We are on the cutting edge of new media and are the go-to source for progressive issues and advocacy for traditional media. Learn more at