The Susquehanna Valley Progressives (SVP) honored Charles Sackrey with the first ever Robert Ingersoll Forward Thinking Award on Sunday July 30th at their annual networking reception, held at Spyglass Ridge Winery.
Charles Sackrey received this award, according to Nicole Faraguna, a founding member of SVP, because of his tireless effort to advocate and fight on behalf of free thought, human and civil rights, social justice and the environment.
As an Economics Professor at Bucknell University, Charles challenged his students and colleagues to think beyond convention. In the classroom, he forthrightly declared his commitment to fight injustice. His students responded– agreeing, disagreeing, but always contending with what was important. His students felt respected and free, safe and inspired to join the conversation and a number were inspired to join the fight against injustice.
As one of his colleagues has said, “Charles never saw an injustice he didn’t try to correct.”
Charles helped students and other faculty organize the Bucknell Progressive Caucus and he took action side-by-side with students – a sit in during a trustees meeting – for divestment in support of ending apartheid in South Africa, demonstrations against US proxy wars in Central America and much more.
He helped students produce the Catalyst newspaper, with stories not only about injustice in the world, but inequality and injustice at Bucknell.
He has advocated on the front lines on behalf of disenfranchised workers at the University and in the community…fighting for fair wages and treatment.
Through his tenure at Bucknell University and as an active member of Organizations United for the Environment (OUE), he fought against environmental injustice. Charles challenged politicians and corporate interests intent on harming our Valley’s precious natural resources. Charles rallied his fellow citizens to fight against ill-conceived development that threatened the health and qualify of life of our residents. His efforts resulted in numerous environmental wins for our area but, more importantly, instilled a sense of worth in our community and restored the ability of the people to self-determine their future.
Outside the classroom, Charles peacefully protested, encouraging his fellow citizens to do the same. He has organized protests and patriotically exercised his freedom of speech. It was not unusual for Charles to get arrested during these demonstrations. He would always notify the police of his intent, ensuring a peaceful outcome.
Charles is a tireless advocate for social and economic equality. He has long recognized the consequences of an unregulated capitalist system and has fought for fairness and inclusion. In recent years he developed and co-taught courses through Bucknell’s community learning programs related to economic theory and social inequality, always intent on educating the public on unorthodox topics that are rarely discussed in mainstream society.
In true Charles fashion, he founded the Mondragon Bookstore in Lewisburg–a model workplace of humanism and solidarity–where the workers are the true owners of the establishment. The bookstore has served as a meeting place for numerous nonprofit organizations and has been a welcome destination for those seeking literature and reference materials on a variety of subjects.
One of his Bucknell colleagues coined him “the Woody Guthrie of Bucknell.” Susquehanna Valley Progressives would like to say he is the Woody Guthrie of the Susquehanna Valley.
“On behalf of all those who think forwardly and embrace true progress, we thank Charles for his steadfast work to fight against adversity and injustice; his persistence to educate and inspire those around him; his integrity to live his ideals and morals; and his constant efforts to make this world a better place,” said Faraguna.