Margarida Jorge is National Director at Women's Equality Center. She began her career in the labor movement, where she organized low-income health care workers in the South and the Midwest for nearly 10 years.
Communist Party award
The 2005 Missouri/Kansas Friends of the Peoples Weekly World annual awards breakfast drew more than 130 trade unionists, activists, and religious leaders to the Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast on April 30. The event, then in its 13th year, honors Hershel Walker, a life-long peace and justice advocate who joined the Young Communist League USA in 1930 and spent the rest of his life in the Communist Party USA. Walker was killed in a car accident in 1990 while on his way to deliver petitions for the campaign to save 4,000 jobs at Chrysler Plant #1 in Fenton, Mo.
2005 award recipients included state Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D-St. Louis), Progressive Vote organizer Margarida Jorge, and the registered nurses of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655.
The keynote speaker was Keren Wheeler, editor of Dynamic, the YCL magazine, and the event included remarks from Student Worker Alliance member Danielle Christmas. The SWA had recently won a living wage for Washington University campus service staff after a 19-day sit-in. Christmas thankedd the World for its coverage and support. “This truly was a community victory,” she said.
The Missouri Legislature had recently passed HB 539, which eliminates Medicaid services for up to 130,000 state residents.
After receiving her award, Mott Oxford, who opposed the bill, apologized for the Legislature’s action and vowed to do everything in her power to fight implementation of the cuts.
The breakfast also recognized the lifelong contributions of John Pappademos, who had recently celebrated his 55th year in the CPUSA. Pappademos received a standing ovation from the packed union hall. Members of SEIU Local 2000, AFSCME Local 2730, CBTU, and UFCW Local 655 were among those who attended, along with state Rep. John L. Bowman and 22nd Ward Committee members Jay Ozier and Fay Davis. The event raised more than $4,000 for the World’s 2005 fund drive and local activities.
UMS Town hall meeting
On July 11, 2005, Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr. held a town hall meeting at the Millennium Student Center on the UM-St. Louis campus. The discussion on social security was moderated by Julius Hunter, vice president of community relations at St. Louis University and former news anchor for KMOV Channel 4. Panel members included Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City); Rev. James Morris, of St. Louis Interfaith Partnership; Thomas Helton, executive board member of ASUM; and Margarida Jorge, director of Missourians United to Protect Social Services. Several hundred community members attended the meeting, which was followed by a reception with Clay.
Supporting Pat Allen
The weekend before the Aug. 8 2006, Missouri primary, about half a dozen St. Louis volunteers from the Communist Party USA went to Kenett, a small southern Missouri “Boot Heel” town, where a historic state representative race was going on. We volunteered to help Pat Allen, who would have been the first African American woman state representative in southern Missouri. She and her opponent, Tom Todd, were campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination in the 163rd District.
The volunteers included Tony Pecinovsky, district staff person for the Communist Party in Missouri and Kansas.and Jocelyn Cochran-Biggs, a member of the Missouri/Kansas Peoples Weekly World bureau. Pat Allen's campaign co-ordinator was Communist Party USA member Margarida Jorge.
Wrote Pecinovsky and Cochran-Biggs;
- Though her opponent won the primary, the campaign was an important learning experience and in many ways a victory.
- That a progressive African American woman ran at all in southern Missouri, where sexism and racism are very real, signifies a significant shift in the political balance of forces.
- Allen’s campaign also laid the groundwork for future base-building and mobilization, including in the Claire McCaskill campaign for U.S. Senate. McCaskill, who is in a neck-to-neck race with right-wing Republican Jim Talent, may be able to pick up some extra votes in southern Missouri, Talent’s strongest base, which would be a real victory for the fight against racism and sexism, as well as for rural voters.
Shortly after the primary was over, it was discovered that Allen's opponent Tom Todd, who was running as a Democrat in a Democratic primary, was actually working the Republican base and telling voters that Allen was a Black radical.
Allen’s platform included standing up for women’s reproductive rights, access to affordable health care for seniors, better schools and better jobs with living wages. She also had years of experience in local politics as a teacher and member of the school board.
As of November 2006, Missouri Progressive Vote (Pro-Vote);
- John Hickey —Executive Director
- Marshall Rowland—Systems Manager
- Margarida Jorge—Organizing Director
- Ron Berry—Mid MO Organizer
- Julie Terbrock—STL Organizer
- Kay Mills—Springfield Organizer
- Megan Peterson—KC Organizer
- Rachel Knafo—Development & Admin
- Angie Evans—Practicum Student
- Andrew McDermott—Intern
- Steve Zegel — Practicum Instructor
Communist Party USA
Colan Holmes, Garon Foxx, Glenn Burleigh, Jim Wilkerson, Jocelyn Cochran-Biggs, Joey Mooney, John Pappademos, Julie Terbrock, Katrina Molnar, Kaveh Razani, Margarida Jorge, Mary Barbur , Nafisa Kabir, Phil Webb, Quincy Boyd, Russ Ford, Steve Johnson, Tony Pecinovsky, Yvette Harris, Zenobia Thompson.
CPUSA Missouri/Kansas District Executive Board
In 2007, members of the Communist Party's Missouri/Kansas District Executive Board were;
- Jim Wilkerson
- Zenobia Thompson
- John Pappademos
- Glenn Burleigh
- Margarida Jorge
- Quincy Boyd
- Tony Pecinovsky
Margarida Jorge is the National Field Director for Health Care for America Now. In this role, Jorge works with labor, community, faith, grassroots, and progressive organizations to move Members of Congress to support HCAN’s vision of health care reform in ways that build power for permanent local organizations. Previously, Jorge directed Americans for Health Care, SEIU’s grassroots campaign to win health care for all and also worked on candidate elections, state legislative fights, and ballot initiative campaigns in the states.
Peace and Justice event
- 17th Annual Hershel Walker ‘Peace & Justice’ Awards Breakfast Missouri/Kansas Friends of People’s Weekly World St Louis, MO April 25, Sat., 9:30 a.m.
- Keynote speaker: Margarida Jorge, Nat’l Field Dir HCAN (Health Care for America Now!). Awardees: Lara Granich, Exec Dir Missouri Jobs with Justice, Don Giljum, Bus Mgr Operating Engineers Local 148, VP of St. Louis Central Labor Council, Maida Coleman, former 5th Dist Sen & current candidate for mayor.
Anti "right wing" memo
In August 2009 Margarida Jorge wrote an extensive memo to HCAN field partners offering guidance on how to deal with "right wing" protestors at health care town hall meetings.
Full memo at Health Care for America Now page.
- Margarida Jorge To: HCAN Field Partners
- RE: HCAN—Responding to Right-Wing Attacks in the Field - August 4, 2009
- Since early February, we’ve seen increasing numbers of militant right-wing activists attending public meetings across the country targeting Members of Congress and President Obama. Now in the August recess, the “tea-bagger” protesters and right-wing activists are showing up in larger numbers with a mission to be as disruptive as possible in the hopes of rattling Members of Congress and halting health care reform through pure spectacle and obstruction.
- Our response is shaped by 3 things:
- Our targets are Members of Congress who must vote “yes” for this bill. Our targets are not the rightwing extremists. The targets of these attacks are Members of Congress. Those Members are also our targets.
- We need to use these attacks as opportunities to work with the Members in ways that build our relationship in the field and bring us together as allies in health care reform. Members may be more receptive to partnering with us if they know we will help them combat the opposition.
- Our core message is effective, and we should always come back to it. Our campaign plan has always anticipated opposition. No matter what the right-wingers bring up to distract the debate, we should always circle back to our key message. We are on the side of quality, affordable health care for everyone, and we are against turning over health care reform to the insurance companies and lobbyists who got us into this mess to begin with. We need to educate the press and the public that the protesters are aligned with the corporate lobbyists and insurance companies who are trying to stop reform.
Communist Party speaker
- Margarida Jorge is the former national field director for Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), the nation’s largest health care coalition considered by many “the group that got health care reform passed.” She led HCAN’s organizing efforts nationally and worked with community, labor and faith partners in more than 30 states.
- She is currently the field director for Americans for Tax Fairness. She has nearly two decades of field experience in more than 20 states organizing union elections, candidate campaigns, statewide and local ballot initiatives and state legislative campaigns with organizations like AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition and Jobs with Justice (JWJ).
- Prior to joining HCAN, Margarida served as national director of Americans for Health Care, organizing voters in battleground states to promote national health care reform.
- St. Louis salutes peoples champions, PWW, Tony Pecinovsky May 13 2005
- UMS legislative update, April 2005, Congressman Clay holds town hall meeting at UM-St. Louis
- A learning experience for progressive politics, PWW by: Jocelyn Cochran-Biggs and Tony Pecinovsky October 6 2006
- Pro-Vote News, November 2006
- We salute the labor movement!, People's World, September 1, 2006
- [People's Weekly World, April 28 2007, page 4]
- Speak Progress, Speakers page