James Thindwa to receive Ohio Citizen Action Howard M. Metzenbaum Award at national conference on August 7

James Thindwa during his work with Chicago Jobs with Justice

James Thindwa will receive Ohio Citizen Action’s highest honor, the Howard M. Metzenbaum Award, on August 7, 2009, during the Hudson Bay National Canvassers Conference at Ohio State University. The award is given to an individual who is a resident of or has a strong connection to Ohio and who has demonstrated achievements exhibiting “principled tenacity.”

James recently joined the strategic campaigns staff of the American Federation of Teachers in Chicago, following seven years as the director of Chicago Jobs with Justice. He grew up in in Zimbabwe, where his family was involved in the fight against British colonial rule, and he moved to the U.S. to go to college. He graduated from Kentucky’s Berea College, then earned a Masters at Miami University of Ohio and was conducting further graduate studies at Ohio State when he joined the staff Ohio Citizen Action as a canvasser in Columbus in the early 1980s. He became the Indianapolis canvass director for Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, and returned to Columbus in the early 1990s to direct our Columbus canvass office.

James’ stellar career as an community organizer and leader has been characterized by his compassion for those who are struggling, keen political observations, and a deep commitment to social justice. He has been an inspiration to literally thousands of canvassers from Ohio, Indiana, and throughout our canvassing network over the last 25 years.

In March 2009, James’ work received national recognition when Bill Moyers’ Journal ran a 30-minute profile of him.