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Public Citizen’s 50th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating a Half Century of Fighting for the Public Interest

By Dani Klein

On June 13, 2023, Public Citizen hosted a gala event at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary.  

After an introduction by Public Citizen’s President, Robert Weissman, several attendees made remarks, including former Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Public Citizen’s Executive Vice President Lisa Gilbert, and Representative Jamie Raskin.  

Senator Raphael Warnock accepted the Golden Boot Award for his public interest work in the Senate, and activists Dannie Bolden and Pastor Chester Davis received the Super Citizen Activist Award for environmental and community protection efforts in their town in Florida. 

Throughout Public Citizen’s 50 years, its advocates have played a key role in the creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the passage of corporate and government accountability laws, reforms made to the Freedom of Information Act, and more. Successful lobbying efforts ensured the safety of the drugs on the pharmaceutical market, pushed for a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, and took steps to improve campaign finance laws.  

Public Citizen has also published many books and reports on topics crucial to consumer safety and the public interest, including publications holding Big Tobacco, the World Trade Organization, Big Pharma, and our own representatives accountable. 

More recently, Public Citizen has successfully blocked corporate immunity measures, renegotiated trade agreements to protect workers and the environment, won lawsuits protecting mail-in voting, worker’s rights, and government accountability, and more. 

Public Citizen has committed 50 years to being advocates for the public interest in a landscape of overwhelming advocacy on behalf of corporate interests. The fight to protect democracy from corporate control is not only ongoing but is more arduous than ever. Public Citizen’s 500,000+ members and advocates will continue to defend marginalized members of society, protect consumers, and preserve American democracy. 

 Photo Gallery

 Super Citizen Activist Award Co-Winner Pastor Chester Davis 

Super Citizen Activist Award Co-Winner Dannie Bolden 

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) 

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) 


Attendees with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Executive Vice President Lisa Gilbert 

Public Citizen’s 2023 Golden Boot Award, awarded to Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

Senator Warnock and Robert Weissman 

Speaker Emerita Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 


Speaker Emerita Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and a Public Citizen intern 


Public Citizen President Robert Weissman with presenter Joseline Garcia and other attendees 


Members of the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition and the Public Citizen Democracy Team 


Gala reception and event