Julian Aguon - 2011
Aguon, an indigenous Chamoru human rights activist from Guam, is using legal advocacy, critical scholarship and community organizing to protect the cultural integrity and environment of Pacific Islanders in the face of massive waves of development and militarization.
Nahar Alam - 1998
Founder of Workers' Awaaz; courageous organizer of immigrant and domestic workers subjected to cruelty, abuse, and exploitation.
Susana Almanza - 1998
Co-founder and Executive Director of People Organized in Defense of the Earth and her Resources (PODER); leader in the struggle to raise public awareness of environmental, community, and health effects of toxic waste.
Pablo Alvarado - 2002
Salvadoran refugee, leader of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights In LA's Day Labor Union, Pablo Alvarado has transformed street-corner hiring sites into innovative labor centers and spearheaded an organizing network to close the gap between undocumented workers and organized labor nationwide.
Robert Avant (d.2008) - 2000
Executive Director of the North Panola Community Resource Development Corp.; President of Panola County Board of Supervisors; organizer of cooperative ventures including affordable housing, banking services, water supply, and a federal enterprise on behalf of his underdeveloped community.
Frank Bardacke - 1998
Driving force of the Watsonville Human Rights Committee; adult high school teacher; activist for labor rights, social justice, better housing, and improved access to education for the Mexican-American and Mexican communities.
Grace Bauer - 2013
Co-Director of Justice for Families; a passionate leader working to transform families from victims of the prison epidemic to leaders of the movement for fairness and opportunity for all youth.
Ellen Baxter - 1994
Founder of Committee for the Heights-Inwood Homeless; recognized for her dedication to seeking and implementing solutions to the problems of homelessness in urban America.
Hava Beller - 1989
Documentary filmmaker; recognized for her depiction of political and personal courage in The Restless Conscience, a film about resistance to Hitler within Nazi Germany.
Advocate for cultural identity; community education activist; outpatient counselor for Centro de Anistad; recognized for her advocacy over 30 years for the cultural identity and autonomy of her Yaqui and Latino community.
Anu Bhagwati - 2010
Former U .S. Marine Captain and founding director of the Service Women's Action Network, Bhagwati speaks out about misogyny, racism and homophobia in the armed services, advocates for equal opportunity at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and works to heal women veterans and service members suffering from trauma, abuse and homelessness.
Kekuni Blaisdell - 1996
Physician, medical scholar and professor; recognized for his tireless advocacy for the rights and fundamental freedoms of Knaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiians) and other indigenous peoples.
Lillie Branch-Kennedy - 2011
Founding director of Resources Information Help for the Disadvantaged and co-founder of the Community Restoration Campaign, Branch-Kennedy has taken on the full range of obstacles encountered by prisoners and their families and lobbies for restoration of parole and voting rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Devin Burghart - 2007
Today, a dozen anti-immigrant organizations—with combined annual budgets of more than $15 million—maintain national profiles. Encouraged by their virulent rhetoric, between January 2005 and January 2007, new state and local anti-immigrant organizations increased in number by 600 percent.
Mattie Butler - 1989
Chicago community organizer; founder and President of Woodlawn East Community & Neighbors; recognized for advocacy that has led to jobs, housing and education for thousands in southwest Chicago.
Mary Caferro - 2008
Executive director of grassroots anti-poverty group Working for Equality and Economic Liberation and legislator in Montana House of Representatives, Caferro is a powerful voice for increasing the minimum wage and reforming the healthcare system.
James Callen - 2002
Recognizing that systematic corruption was poisoning the civic life of his community and obstructing economic revival, James Callen co-founded the Citizen's League of Greater Youngstown and has waged a courageous 20-year battle to break the stranglehold of the mob on local politics and commerce.
Sandra Campbell-Jackson - 1996
Founder and Director of Raising Others' Children; recognized for her nurturing and development of a support system for inter-generational kinship care and empowerment.
Robin Cannon - 1991
Co-founder and President of Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles; recognized for her contribution to social, economic, and environmental equity in Los Angeles minority and low-income neighborhoods.
Marcia Capuano - 1993
Principal of H.L. Harshman Junior High School; recognized for her dedication to education reform and racial justice in the urban schools on the Near East Side of Indianapolis.
Chhaya Chhoum - 2006
Staff director of CAAAV Youth Leadership Project since the age of 19, Chhoum harnesses the energy of her young peers to remedy urban poverty in a Southeast Asian immigrant community that lost much of its adult generation.
Ron Chisom - 1994
Community organizer; co-founder and Director of the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond; recognized for his efforts to combat racism in America.
Samuel Cotton (d.2004) - 1997
Founder of Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and the Sudan; a courageous voice in the United States against contemporary human bondage.
Carrie and Mary Dann, grandmothers and founders of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, have withstood decades of hardship, hostility, corporate greed and government harassment to assert the land rights and human rights of Native Americans.
Murphy Davis - 1991
Founder and Director of the Southern Prison Ministry; co-founder and partner of the Open Door Community; recognized for her service to the inhabitants of Georgia's death row and the Atlanta homeless.
Susana DeAnda - 2009
Founding co-director of the Community Water Center, DeAnda educates and organizes low-income residents of the San Joaquin Valley to become advocates for clean, affordable drinking water.
Geraldine DeGraffenreidt - 2002
By the sheer power of her personality, Geraldine DeGraffenreidt, foster mother of many and maternal outreach worker for the Chatham County, NC, Public Health Department, has not only persuaded scores of unwed mothers to take advantage of county health services but has also encouraged the young men who fathered their children to become productive participants in their childrens' lives.
Robert DeSena - 1992
Founder and Director of the Council for Unity; recognized for creating a model cross-cultural program in public schools to defuse gang violence, fight racism, and redirect the lives of New York urban youth.
Marian Edmonds Allen - 2015
In a conservative religious environment, Marian creates strategic partnerships to transform the hostile culture toward LGBT youth who face family rejection, homelessness and high suicide rates.
Dolores Farr - 1999
Founder and Executive Director of the Healthy Babies Project; nurse and provider of health education and clinical services for pregnant women and teens, especially those struggling with substance abuse.
Rey Faustino - 2013
CEO of One Degree; fervent, innovative advocate to ensure all families have access to services they need to overcome poverty.
Lenny Foster - 1997
Coordinator of National Native American Prisoners' Rights Coalition; Director of Navajo Nations Corrections Project; advocate for prisoners' religious freedoms.
Earnest Gates - 1992
Businessman and community activist; recognized for his leadership in creating partnerships among the community, the private sector, and the city government to preserve and revitalize Chicago's West Side neighborhoods.
James Gilmore - 1998
Police officer, community organizer, and co-founder of 100 Black in Law Enforcement; activist on behalf of his precinct's neighborhood residents and outspoken critic of police brutality and police racism.
Ana Guajardo Carrillo - 2012
Founder of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Guajardo has enabled low-wage Latino workers in Chicago to gain passage of the strongest state wage-protection legislation in the country and to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in owed wages.
Roberta Guaspari - 1992
Violinist, teacher, founder of Opus 118; recognized for her commitment to broadening educational opportunities of East Harlem's public school children through the arts.
Clayton Guyton - 2003
Calyton Guyton, founder of the Rose Street Community Center, put his life on the line to reclaim his East Baltimore neighborhood from the degradation of drugs, violence, despair and neglect.
Graylan Scott Hagler - 1990
Community organizer; Minister of Plymouth Congregational Church; recognized for his efforts on behalf of minority neighborhoods, including advocacy for law enforcement consistent with constitutional safeguards.
Juan Haro - 2013
Director, Movement for Justice in El Barrio; an organizer who empowers and fosters leadership in NYC’s low-income communities to fight oppression.
David Hawk - 1989
Founder of the Cambodian Documentation Commission; recognized for his work in the cause of international human rights in Southeast Asia.
Haleemah Henderson - 2005
Ingenious organizer for Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, Haleemah Henderson has brought affordable banking services and financial literacy to welfare recipients and others victimized by loan sharks, pawnshops and unscrupulous check-cashing businesses.
Michael Hurwitz & Ian Marvy - 2004
Founding co-director of Added Value, an inner-city farm and market project that fosters the leadership and business skills of at-risk teenagers and provides safe space, opportunity and fresh foods to the isolated and underserved neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Rahim Jenkins - 1997
Founder of Righteous Men's Commission; a leader of Anacostia's ongoing struggle for civic participation, mutual respect and unified action on issues of common concern.
Maria Jimenez - 2010
Leader, organizer, mentor and strategist, Jimenez continues her four decades of work to build the capacity of community stakeholders and to enable new leadership to take root and take charge of the long struggle for immigrants' rights and dignity.
Wahleah Johns - 2010
Co-founder of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and member of the Navajo Green Economy Commission, Johns is working to replace the royalties and environmental degradation of fossil fuel industries on Native American land with sustainable initiatives based on traditional indigenous values and practices.
Tina Johnstone - 1997
Founder of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; leader of The Silent March, a memorial to gun victims; leader of grassroots activism on behalf of gun control.
Juanita Kirschke - 2000
Co-founder and Director of the Detention Resource Project; friend of isolated immigrants, including children and asylum seekers detained under severe prison conditions; organizer of volunteer legal assistance and social services.
Al Kurland - 1994
Educator and community organizer; recognized for his commitment to and support of urban youth in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood.
Olin Lagon - 2005
A former high school dropout, Lagon left a promising corporate career to provide digital training and jobs for Native Hawaiians and to form an alliance among Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Native and American Indian companies that is generating opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically depressed communities.
Nikki Lewis - 2011
Co-coordinator of Restaurant Opportunities Center–DC, Lewis uses her first-hand experience of occupational segregation and labor abuses in the restaurant industry to lead a rapidly growing workers center and to play a lead role in the national movement for workplace justice.
Carrie Ann Lucas - 2010
Director of the Center for the Rights of Parents with Disabilities at the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Lucas protects the rights of parents with disabilities, and children who are often unnecessarily caught up the child protection system, and works to expand access to the support and resources families need to effectively parent their children.
Allan Macurdy (d.2008) - 1994
Scholar and activist; recognized for his work on behalf of people with disabilities and other minority communities.
Kamau Marcharia - 1991
Community organizer; recognized for his efforts to empower African-American citizens in rural South Carolina.
Emily Maw - 2006
Director of The Innocence Project - New Orleans, Maw focuses on exonerating the wrongly convicted who are serving life sentences in Louisiana and Mississippi, the states with the highest incarceration rates in the world.
Benita Miller - 2011
Founding director of Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective, Miller enables disadvantaged young mothers not only to make transformational changes in their own lives but also to become skilled advocates who are reframing the public response to pregnant and parenting teens.
Tirso Moreno - 1993
Coordinator and founder of the Farm Workers Association of Central Florida; recognized for seeking improved wages and safer working conditions for farm workers.
Audrey Morrissey - 2008
Director of Survivor Services at the My Life/My Choice Project; leader in the effort to reshape the response of law enforcement and social service-providers to victims of prostitution.
Vivian Nixon - 2008
Director of the College and Community Fellowship Program, Nixon helps former prisoners earn higher education degrees and is an outspoken advocate for restoring and expanding educational opportunities behind and beyond prison bars.
Parisa Norouzi - 2015
Parisa has had unique success forging partnerships across Washington, DC’s Black and Latino communities to fight the gentrification and school closings that are devastating neighborhood residents.
Martha Ojeda - 2001
Executive director of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, Martha champions the rights of Mexican factory workers who brave corporate reprisals and government hostility as they struggle for independent unions, fair wages and safe working conditions.
Gerald One Feather - 1995
Oglala Sioux rights advocate and founder of Oglala Lakota College; recognized for his work in spearheading education reform, upholding Sioux treaty rights, and helping his people to seek traditional solutions to contemporary problems.
Ken Paff - 1996
Co-founder and National Organizer of Teamsters for a Democratic Union; recognized for his work to restore democracy, accountability and honesty to one of America's largest labor unions.
Tyrone Parker - 2007
Tyrone Parker, co-founder and executive director of the Alliance of Concerned Men, mediates disputes among young people at risk in high-crime areas of greater Washington, DC, and works to expand opportunities for them and their families.
Pancho is a servant leader who has worked tirelessly at the intersection of race and workers’ rights to build institutions that empower and defend the most vulnerable coming to the U.S.
Darby Penney - 2005
Founder of the Community Consortium and the International Network of Treatment Alternatives for Recovery and co-creator of The Suitcase Project, an exhibition recovering the past of forgotten institutionalized patients, Penney is an outspoken advocate for the rights of those with psychiatric disabilities.
Rhonda Perry - 2001
Program director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Rhonda helps thousands of independent farmers and the rural poor to combat the social, economic and environmental degradation of their communities by big agribusiness.
Ron Podlaski - 1993
Founder and Director of the P.K. Sethi Prosthetics Clinic and Training Center; recognized for providing health care and economic opportunities for amputee victims of land mines.
Esther Portillo - 2003
Esther Portillo, founder of Libreria del Pueblo, has led boycotts of sweatshop products, protected children from lead poisoning, organized hundreds of vulnerable tenants to preserve and improve affordable housing and at 26, she's just getting started.
Lucy Poulin - 1993
Member and leader of Homeworkers Organized for More Employment; recognized for fighting unemployment, illiteracy, and despair among the rural poor in northern Maine.
Ninaj Raoul - 2000
Co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees; supporter of Haitian refugees; community organizer, and outspoken opponent of insensitive immigration laws, police brutality, and unfair working conditions.
Danalynn Recer - 2004
Founding Director of the Gulf Region Advocacy Center, Recer overcame steep obstacles to become a respected scholar and attorney and works tirelessly, pro bono, to improve the quality of trial-level defense in Harris County, Texas, America's "Capital of capital punishment."
Jacqueline Robarge - 2009
Founding director of Power Inside, Robarge works to provide a continuum of care as well as policy advocacy to halt the cycle of the same women being repeatedly incarcerated in and released from the Baltimore City Jail.
Cecilia Rodriguez - 1990
Founder of La Mujer Obrera; recognized for her support to and advocacy for minority women in the garment industry of southwest Texas.
Elena Rodriguez - 2001
President of Mujeres Unidas and coordinator of farmworker outreach for Terry Reilly Health Services, Elena works to secure preventive medicine, reproductive health care and children's medical insurance for Idaho Latinas and their families.
Mayseng Saetern - 1995
Founder and counselor at the Asian Women's' Center; recognized for her public commitment to advancing the rights of immigrant women and for bringing attention to issues of domestic violence within the community.
Victoria Sammartino - 2012
Sammartino works to heal, and to change punitive policies for, 14- to 21-year olds who have experienced abuse or neglect, have gone on to commit acts of delinquency and are thus caught up in both the child welfare and juvenile justice bureaucracies.
Eva Sanjurjo - 2006
Founder of Greening for Breathing, Sanjurjo has led her low-income community's long struggle against environmental degradation and for safe streets, green spaces and green jobs.
Tim Schermerhorn - 1999
Founder of New Directions, a rank and file reform group with the Transport Workers Union Local 100; builder of alliances with other labor action groups and progressive organizations.
Kenneth Serapio Hunter - 1990
Pediatric surgeon; recognized for his service to fellow Miskito Indians in the villages and refugee camps of Nicaragua and Honduras.
Claudia Smith - 2000
Founder and Border Projects Director of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; resourceful advocate in the United States and Mexico for the human rights of migrants endangered by harsh border control policies.
Sheldon Smith - 2012
Inspired at 20 by the birth of his daughter, Smith founded The Dovetail Project, an intensive peer-to-peer program where young fathers without role models learn how to build family and community.
Linda Stout - 1990
Founder and Director of the Piedmont Peace Project; recognized for creating a model multi-racial movement dedicated to organizing, educating, and empowering North Carolina's poor.
Carrie Thomas - 2003
Carrie Thomas, founding director of the Smithville Neighborhood Freedom Center, courageously confronted the racist power structure of her small town and, by raising her voice, helped the entire African-American community find theirs.
JT Thompson - 2009
Founding director of Resurrection After Exoneration, Thompson runs the only reentry, transitional housing and resource center for men who were wrongly convicted and exonerated.
Joan Timeche - 1989
Former Director of the Hopi Department of Education and current Program Director for the Center for American Indian Economic Development in Arizona; recognized for fostering educational and economic opportunities for Native Americans while preserving their cultural and spiritual life.
Curt L. Tofteland - 2007
Curt L. Tofteland, Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky, directs the longest-running Shakespeare theater company contained within the walls of a medium-security adult male prison.
Ken Toole - 2001
Co-founder and program director of the Montana Human Rights Network, Ken works with citizens across the state to resist the bigotry of white supremacist and other hate groups and to defend the sovereignty of Native Americans.
Natalicía Tracy - 2013
Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center; recognized for her advocacy for immigrant women and low-wage workers.
Sissy Trinh - 2015
A visionary organizer in Chinatown, one of the poorest neighborhoods in this diverse city, Sissy uses innovative strategies to build political power and drive policy change.
Tom Tso - 1991
Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation; recognized for his efforts to integrate traditional Navajo law and Anglo-American legal processes.
John Cole Vodicka - 1999
Founder of the Prison and Jail Project; courageous advocate of prisoners in southwest Georgia; activist against racism and abuse within the criminal justice system.
Hollis Watkins - 1999
Co-founder and President of Southern Echo, Inc., a grass-roots organization fostering positive social change across Mississippi; dedicated community organizer in the struggle for racial justice.
Founding director of The Center Pole on the Crow reservation in Montana, White works to provide children with the traditional values and contemporary skills necessary to insure a sustainable future for the Crow people.
Gina Womack - 2006
Founder and co-director of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, Womack has built a statewide organization that is reforming one of America's most racist and brutal criminal systems.
Paul Wright - 2005
Skilled jailhouse lawyer and courageous investigative reporter, Wright founded Prison Legal News, a nationally recognized monthly published from behind bars for 13 years, and continues to hold hostile prison bureaucracies to account by exposing incompetence and inhumane conditions, brutality and racism.
Rachel Yoder - 1995
Founding member of Parents for Quality Education with Integration; recognized for her advocacy for racial justice in the public schools of Ft. Wayne.
Leonard Zeskind - 1992
Researcher, writer, and monitor; recognized for his efforts to increase awareness of hate groups and white supremacist activity in Europe and America.
Aaron Zimmerman - 2005
Founding director of New York Writers Coalition, one of the largest community-based creative writing programs in the country, Zimmerman encourages and finds audiences for the work of new writers, from disadvantaged children and teens at risk, to adults who were homeless, incarcerated or survivors of the World Trade Center.
Advocates within hospitals and communities for the improved treatment of pediatric AIDS patients; providers of vital family-to-family outreach.