A group poses for a photo.

Oakland, Calif. — More than 100 CRC members, bankers and allies gathered Thursday, Sept. 22 to celebrate the unwavering work by Northern California communities and recognize the critical work of resiliency-builders.

The Equitable Futures Awards, formerly known as the Community Heroes Awards, was the first such in-person celebration for CRC since the pandemic forced the cancellation of the annual event in 2020.

“The last two years have been uncharted. But our communities made a way forward through resilience and with the help of resiliency builders like many of you here,” said event emcee Yehwroe Martyn, CRC’s Resilience Fund Program Manager, as she welcomed the crowd to the Northern California celebration held in Oakland “Whether you’re here as a CRC member, a partner or as a supporter, you’re here this evening to help us acknowledge some of the heroes who are helping to make our communities whole.” Martyn also thanked the many sponsors, including Diamond-level donors Citi, Flagstar and Mechanics banks, for their generous support for the Northern California area and CRC.

The Equitable Futures Awards recognize difference-makers and community leaders who are working to create a more just and sustainable economy in California. The event is held twice: first in Northern California and again in Southern California. New this year are two categories of awards: the Equitable Futures Award and the Alan Fisher Economic Justice Award.

This year’s Northern California honorees were Jose Padilla, Executive Director of California Rural Legal Assistance, the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco (HRCSF), an organization that provides counseling and organizing services for San Francisco tenants, and the Veritas Tenant Association (VTA), a community member-run accountability organization made up of Veritas Investments tenants.

HRCSF and VTA received Equitable Futures awards for successfully mobilizing a rent strike against Veritas, one of the state’s largest and most powerful multi-family investment firms and securing a written commitment that it would cancel all remaining rent debt and waive annual rent increases this year.

Sharon Miller, the widow of CRC’s founding director Alan Fisher, alongside Alan’s son, David, introduced Padilla, the recipient of the inaugural Alan Fisher Economic Justice Award, which is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of advocacy work that embodies the justice-forward spirit of Alan Fisher.

“It is humbling and special given that it is an inaugural award given in the name of the late, great Alan Fisher,” said Padilla, who acknowledged the on-the-ground work of his staff. “I thank CRC for this honor. Thank you for being a collaborator. Without you, the foreclosure work we have done could never, ever been successful.”

The Southern California EFA’s will be held Thursday, Nov. 3 in Los Angeles. Tickets are now on sale for the event.