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Refusing an Award from Paul Ryan

On Monday, January 16, in Kenosha the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gateway Technical College Humanitarian Awards were given to three well-deserving community activists. Dr. King worked tirelessly to ensure that the basic rights of all Americans are honored by our government and by our society. His was a leading voice in the civil rights struggle, but he also stood against poverty and fought for economic justice. Al Levie was one of the recipients of the humanitarian award that day.

Mr. Levie is a teacher at Horlick High School in Racine and member of the boards of Voces de la Frontera and the Racine NAACP. After receiving his humanitarian award and making a few remarks, Representative Paul Ryan took the stage and attempted to give the honorees certificates of congressional recognition. Al, however, would have none of it. He refused Paul Ryan’s certificate on the grounds that Paul Ryan and his policies are in direct opposition to Dr. King’s fight for economic justice.

We were able to get Mr. Levie’s reactions after the event. In the above video he explains why he refused Paul Ryan’s award, and how Paul Ryan’s presence at an MLK event runs counter to the ideals of that great man.

For further proof of Ryan being a “lackey of the 1%” as Al called him, see here.

In these trying times, congratulations are in order for Mr. Levie for addressing some of the blatant hypocrisy at play in our political atmosphere. We’ll end with some of the stirring words he used to address the crowd that day:

The challenge of humanitarians today is to close that divide and fight for the well being of the 99 percent. The struggle for equality is not only a civil rights struggle; it is an economic justice struggle. There is no wealth problem in this country only a distribution problem. Our society needs to reorder its priorities and meet human need instead of fostering individual human greed.


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