Labor leader Sara Nelson to receive 2024 Debs Award

May 2—The 2024 Eugene V. Debs Award will be presented to Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants — Communication Workers of America.

The presentation will be made Sept. 28 at the Annual Debs Award Banquet at the Terre Haute Convention Center.

As a labor organizer and movement leader, Nelson represents 50,000 flight attendants at 19 airlines and is credited with helping to end the 2019 government shutdown by threatening a unified general strike in solidarity with unpaid essential workers.

The New York Times subsequently dubbed her "America's Most Powerful Flight Attendant."

The Debs Award is presented annually to individuals and organizations making significant contributions to society in the fields of industrial unionism, social justice or world peace.

The inaugural 1965 Debs Award was presented to John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers of America and co-founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Other notable honorees include Coretta Scott King, Howard Zinn, Jesse Jackson, Pete Seeger, Kurt Vonnegut, Danny Glover, Walter Reuther, Dorothy Day and William "Bill" Lucy.

Chartered in 1962, the Eugene V. Debs Foundation stewards and promotes the legacy of Terre Haute's world-renowned labor organizer and five-time Socialist presidential candidate. In 1920, Debs earned nearly 1 million votes from an Atlanta prison cell after illegally speaking against World War I.

The weekend of the Debs Award Banquet will include programming at the Debs Museum, Highland Lawn Cemetery and Indiana State University.

Tickets and details for the 2024 banquet will be available later this summer.