Roosevelt Institute Honors Champions of Democracy at 2023 Four Freedoms Awards

The Roosevelt Institute held its annual Four Freedoms Awards at the historic FDR Presidential Library and Museum to honor those fighting for the preservation of democracy

September 23, 2023
Anthony Thomas
(202) 412-4270

New York, NY—Today, the Roosevelt Institute held the Four Freedoms Awards, presented in alternating years by the Roosevelt Institute in the US and Roosevelt Stichting in the Netherlands, FDR’s ancestral home. The ceremony—which was free and open to the public—is modeled after FDR’s historic Four Freedoms speech to Congress in 1941. Held in Hyde Park, NY, home of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, the event was sold out and attended by over 400 people, including New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States Birgitta Tazelaar, King’s Commissioner of Zeeland Han Polman, United States Representative Pat Ryan, and New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey.

The Four Freedoms Awards honor Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s legacies with one overarching Freedom Medal and four awards to those who exemplify core freedoms that uphold our democracy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

This year’s award recipients:

Freedom Medal: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, speaker emerita of the US House, was honored with the overarching Freedom Medal for her lifetime of service to our nation. As the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, she has inspired countless women and girls across the nation, and her legislative contributions have shaped the political landscape and left a lasting impact.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: Tracie D. Hall, executive director, American Library Association, was honored for defending libraries, advocating for literacy, and working to preserve and expand equal access to information.

Freedom of Worship: Dr. Walter Earl Fluker, distinguished professor of the Howard Thurman center at the Hartford International University for Religion and Peace, was honored for carrying on the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Howard Thurman—from helping students navigate the ethical questions of today to being a thought leader for Black churches.

Freedom from Want: Ady Barkan, creator of the Fed Up campaign and founder & co-executive director of Be A Hero, was honored for his unapologetic work fighting for freedom from economic want and for a more just health-care system in the United States.

Freedom from Fear: The Honorable Bennie Thompson, US House representative, was honored for his leadership skills and courage as chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

“At a time when our democracy is at stake, each of our honorees reminds us that there are people across this country who have committed their lives to progress. The Four Freedoms, and those who champion them, are more critical now than ever,” said Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s granddaughter and board chair of the Institute. “I could not be more proud to honor this year’s laureates for their courage and tireless work defending and expanding democracy.”

“Our laureates know firsthand not only what today’s political moment requires but also what’s necessary to forge a better world—one built by many for the good of all,” said Felicia Wong, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute. “As FDR told our nation over 80 years ago, we must never give up our fight for democracy, and these laureates are a continuation of that legacy.”

Past recipients of the Four Freedoms Awards have included international luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama; organizers and visionaries like Ai-jen Poo, Deepak Bhargava, and Bishop William J. Barber II; Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

You can learn more about the Four Freedoms Awards here.


About the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is America’s first presidential library—and the only one used by a sitting president. Conceived and built under President Roosevelt’s direction and opened to the public in 1941, the Library is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Members and donors form a vital base of support for many of the Library’s key initiatives and help keep our doors open to visitors and students from around the world.

About the Roosevelt Institute
The Roosevelt Institute is a think tank, a student network, and the nonprofit partner to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum that, together, are learning from the past and working to redefine the future of the American economy. Focusing on corporate and public power, labor and wages, and the economics of race and gender inequality, the Roosevelt Institute