Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award
2020 Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award cancelled due to CoVid.
The New Orleans Coalition held its first annual Felicia Kahn Citizenship Awards Dinner on September 26, 2019. The awards were inspired by New Orleans Coalition member Felicia Kahn who died at the age of 91, on June 21, 2018. With her demise, our city lost a great New Orleanian and citizen. Throughout her life, Felicia worked tirelessly to secure, defend, and uphold the rights of women and minorities. She inspired young and old to participate in elections, and to improve public policy for our fair city.
The New Orleans Coalition is proud to sponsor an annual award in her memory. It is our hope to inspire and recognize others who offer their passion, hard work, and dedication in making our democracy and our city better for all citizens, particularly those who are denied basic rights.
The Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award is given to an individual who demonstrates some characteristics exemplified by Felicia Kahn -personifying progressive values; fostering civic/community involvement; promoting human rights, with a focus on women and racial minorities; participating in public policy development and governmental affairs; encouraging emerging leaders; working to unify diverse community groups; embodying civility, diversity, equality, empowerment; and actively committing to causes.
The New Orleans Coalition was assisted in the nominating process by several organizations that knew Felicia well: The Independent Women’s Organization (IWO), the League of Women Voters of New Orleans (LWVNO), National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Planned Parenthood.
Through a vigorous process, Lynda Woolard was selected to be the first recipient of the first Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award.
Lynda Woolard –2019 Felicia Kahn Citizenship Awardee
Lynda Woolard, has become a “force of nature” in her work with the and volunteer efforts to educate the public, elect quality democratic candidates and effect public policy. Felicia saw in Lynda a promising and capable leader who she admired and loved. Felicia was both a mentor and a friend to Lynda, sharing her years of experience and urging her to be as involved as she was in the Independent Women’s Organization and Democratic Party Politics.
Lynda started her political life with Barack Obama, in a campaign and advocacy relationship that lasted from his 2007 announcement to his 2013 inauguration. Recruited by Louisiana Democratic Party Chair, Karen Carter Peterson, she created and ran their grassroots mobilization effort, Team Blue Dat, until Governor John Bel Edwards’ election in 2015. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign selected her to serve as State Director, and Whip Captain to Louisiana’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention. In 2017, she joined the Resistance to organize against Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In 2018, she led statewide organizing efforts for the Unanimous Jury Coalition, to end the discriminatory law where a defendant could be convicted of a felony with a non-unanimous jury. She received the Organizer of the Decade award from the Louisiana Democratic Party in 2018. Currently, she is focused on re-electing Governor Edwards through constituency outreach, and consulting on voter turn-out.
Lynda met Felicia Kahn at the first annual IWO meeting following Felicia's and Gail Broussard’s efforts to revive the now 80 year old Democratic women’s organization after Hurricane Katrina. Melissa Harris-Perry was the keynote speaker at Dookie Chase Restaurant, and President Felicia Kahn closed the meeting with a guiding principle that struck a chord with Lynda: "We’re Democrats, so we have fun, but we get our work done.” Under Felicia’s tutelage at IWO, Lynda served as Program Committee Chair from 2011 through 2014, creating events featuring Senator Mary Landrieu, as well as Comedian and Pro-choice Advocate Lizz Winstead. In 2014, she was elected President of IWO for two 2-year terms. During her tenure, the group expanded to 300 members; an Advocacy Committee was added to work on Women’s Issues at the state and city level, chaired by Julie Schwam Harris; and members heard from great women like Democratic rising star, Stacey Abrams, and First Lady Donna Edwards. Lynda remains on the Board of IWO, and is grateful for the years it gave her to serve with Felicia Kahn, not just as fellow members or fellow Democrats, but as dear friends.
In her free time, Lynda raises Monarch butterflies, cares for her many rescue pets, and enthusiastically supports the New Orleans Saints.
The event began with a welcome address by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a personal friend of Felicia. There were several other awards given that night:
Senator J.P. Morrell was the recipient of the President's Award. Logan Burke received the Activist Award, and Juan Serrano was honored with the Emerging Leader Award.
The event also featured a Silent Auction of Felicia Kahn memorabilia.