Following is a transcript of Andrew Perez’s moving speech this week when he accepted the 2023 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media on behalf of The Lever.

I am honored to accept the Izzy award on behalf of The Lever. Thank you to the Park Center for Independent Media for recognizing our reporting and what we are working to build.

I’ve worked as a journalist for the past nine years, mostly at smaller news outlets. Like most of my colleagues, I have been laid off a few times, but I’ve managed to mostly stay employed by developing a beat covering money and influence.

I’ve been fortunate to work for organizations that allowed and encouraged me to report stories challenging power, corporate interests, and both political parties, which is our mission every day now at The Lever.