At the Folk Alliance FAR-West Conference Awards luncheon on Sat. Oct. 17 at the Oakland Marriott, Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper was honored as its 2014 Ambassador. Here are the testimonials from long-time Bread & Roses performers and supporters Joan Baez, Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, Roy Rogers and Maria Muldaur that were read by event organizer extraordinaire Chappell Holt. Along with the introduction that was given by Elaine Dempsey, you can also see the video link of the awards ceremony, including a live rendition of the Bread & Roses song at the end.
Congratulations to you, Cassandra, on receiving the FAR- West Ambassador of the Year Award. The dedicated work you have done with Bread & Roses over these past 14 years has kept Mimi's vision - her legacy - alive and well. Untold numbers of institutionalized and isolated people have had their hearts and souls soothed, refreshed, and invigorated by the talented performers of Bread & Roses. This could not have been possible without your guidance and commitment to carrying on Mimi's dream.
"Hearts starve as well as bodies / Give us bread, but give us roses."
Please accept this print of my painting of Mimi with my love and thanks, and Congratulations on this deserved Ambassador of the Year honor!
I met Cassandra at the end of the 90's when I was doing some shows for Bread & Roses when Mimi was still with us.
I've always thought that music was a great healer and method of communication which is why I support Bread & Roses. The premise that bringing all forms of entertainment to folks who are unable to get out and experience comedy, music, poetry, etc., is a gift that's hard to put a value on, and one of the more touching and rewarding things artists in the entertainment industry can do to give back to the community.
This organization was started with that in mind, and has served so many over the years, from nursing homes and rehab centers, to those who are incarcerated in penal institutions. The organizing with these places and recruiting artists for the shows isn't an easy task, and requires so much time and effort from the people who run Bread & Roses. This goes largely unrewarded except in the inner circles of the organization.
When Mimi Farina left us, Cassandra Flipper picked up the torch and took on the responsibilities of the day to day, as well as overseeing the projects that constitute what Bread & Roses stands for. As an artist who has worked both at the shows for the main recipients of this organization's services, and also to help raise money to help it continue, I'd like to personally thank Cassandra for her years of service and hard work in keeping the original platform, that is Bread & Roses, running smoothly and continuing to serve those it most benefits in the community.
I can't think of anyone more deserving of the 2014 Ambassador of the Year Award!
Please accept my thanks and warm wishes for all you've done, Cassandra, and may your future endeavors be as rewarding as I know working with Bread & Roses has been.
I am honored to contribute to the proceedings.
It has been my great pleasure to work with Cassandra over the years. Bread & Roses has had its continued success in large part due to her dedication and tireless efforts. She is most deserving of the acknowledgment that she has helped make the world a better place and for so many people.
My sincere congratulations to someone who, I am sure, will continue to make a difference in whatever she chooses.
I want to congratulate Cassandra Flipper on the occasion of her retirement from Bread & Roses.
I most gratefully appreciate how she stayed true to the original vision and spiritual intention Mimi Farina had when she first created this wonderful organization, while at the same time, navigating and accomplishing the challenging task of keeping Bread & Roses functioning, financially solvent, and, amazingly, expanding its capacity for outreach and service to those in need.
Along with Mimi, Cassandra has been the "face" of Bread & Roses for so many years, she will be sorely missed!
She has worked tirelessly for many years to bring joy and enjoyment to so many. I sincerely hope that retirement will bring her much deserved opportunities to relax and embark on new and wonderful adventures!!
With much Love & Appreciation,
TESTIMONIAL GIVEN AT THE FOLK ALLIANCE – FAR-WEST AMBASSADOR AWARD CEREMONY by Elaine Dempsey
I want to write a song like Bono's "One" – a well-crafted, powerful message with perfect simplicity and one would think "what more could be done?" And then Mary J Blige comes along and gives this amazing song, new wings. India Arie did it with Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter" and Aretha did it with Otis Redding's "Respect". Eva Cassidy did this "Time after Time". The list goes on. These are artists who know to take something already special, pouring their heart, soul, creativity and brilliance into every note so the song and its message live on, sometimes stronger than its first release.
Like Bono, like Henley, and like Otis – Mimi Fariña made the world a better place with a well-crafted and powerful concept that she grew with perfect simplicity into an elegant human service organization. One would think "what more could be done?"
Like Mary J, like Aretha, like Eva, Cassandra Flipper came along and took something already special, poured her heart and soul into it, and then, with her creative genius and brilliance, continued Mimi's original mission and gave it new wings.
From Mimi's vision, Bread and Roses has long dedicated itself to uplifting the human spirit by bringing live entertainment to those who live in institutions or are similarly isolated. With Cassandra's vision, community relationships in and around Bread and Roses were strengthened and this already special organization developed life-sustaining income streams and was transformed from a founder-run to a sustainable non-profit organization.
Just as Bread and Roses was already special when Cassandra arrived bringing the magic of her leadership, Cassandra was already special before she took that helm.
A child of college professors Carl and Maurine Flipper, she was raised in a family that helped her behold her place in the world as an agent of social justice. Cassandra marched on Washington with Dr. King, she served as an intern in Kennedy's White House and in the Peace Corps. Graduating with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, Cassandra found her point of intervention as an attorney dedicating her career to what is just, what is right, what brings peace, and what brings communities together to make this world a better place.
Cassandra is consistently authentic in her make-the-world-a-better-place spirit and she believes in the power of people working together to get it done....in her work, in the community, in her church, in the arts, in her family, and among her friends, Cassandra brings people together to make the world a better place.
Cassandra Flipper is many things to many people. She is mother to her son Carl and daughter, Karen, she is Nana to four adorable grandchildren. She was a dedicated daughter during her parents living years. Cassandra IS my very dear and wonderful friend, my movie buddy, my St. Louis Cardinals – but-still-love-the-Giants sports pal, my 'let's fix the world' news-junkie companion" and one who will show up when a friend is in crisis until it feels manageable and less lonely.
Cassandra and I have been friends for a very long time and we have much in common
• She was admitted to both the Missouri and California bars
- I have played in many of the bars in both Missouri and California.
• Her first position was with the Department of Justice
- I have many friends who have been positioned by the Department of Justice,
in fact they are probably still there – right now.
Cassandra's contribution to the arts extends beyond her role as the Executive Director of Bread & Roses. She has supported singers, songwriters, and musicians throughout the years. And she shows up. She connects people in the arts with people who appreciate the arts and artists. Her respect-and-reverence for the artists is even evident in the fact that Cassandra does not leave a movie theater until the last credit has rolled. Her respect and honor for artists and their crafts is as basic as bread and as lovely as roses. Cassandra is what an Ambassador of the Arts looks like.
View the video of Cassandra's 2014 Ambassador Award at the FAR-West Awards Ceremony HERE:
Video of FAR-West Awards Ceremony for Bread & Roses 2014 Ambassador Cassandra Flipper, October 17, 2014 Oakland Marriott. Video by Gary Lynch, Courtesy of Far West
1) Cassandra Flipper with her FAR-West Award
2) Elaine Dempsey gives tribute to Cassandra at FAR-West for her Ambassador Award. Cassandra is holding her gift a painting of Mimi Fariña by Joan Baez.
Photos by John Jacob