Bertrand Olotara (Washington, DC)
Bertrand Olotara is an immigrant from the Congo, a single father of five, with two college degrees and over $89,000 of student debt from a private University. He works on Capitol Hill as a US Senate cook but still struggles to feed his family on his US Senate wage of $12 an hour. He is also forced to work a second job at Whole Foods. He bravely penned an op-ed in the Guardian in April of this year to bring national attention to this issue and has joined his fellow Capitol Hill workers in striking for fair wages and the right to unionize with the organization Good Jobs Nation.
Della Curry (Aurora, CO)
Della Curry is the former kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado. She lost her job after giving school lunches to students who didn’t have any money. She has now become a crusader in requiring children be fed a healthy, brain boosting lunch every school day.
Read "I was Terminated from My Job For Giving A Hungry Child A Free Lunch"
Amelia Bonow (Seattle, WA)
Seattle-based activist and writer Amelia Bonow is the Director of #ShoutYourAbortion, an organization devoted to ending the compulsory silence around abortion. She decided to start publicly talking about her recent abortion (#ShoutYourAbortion) on September 19, in reaction to Congress’ vote to defund Planned Parenthood. This started a movement of other women speaking the truth of their experience. She has written for Salon, The Stranger, and City Arts Magazine.
Leonard Campanello (Gloucester, MA)
Police chief in Gloucester, Massachusetts who has decided to scrap the ‘War on Drugs’ for a more practical approach- offering a helping hand and friendly ear to heroin addicts in the town. Under his watch, people dependent on opium are now able to seek support from the local cops - even if they have drugs in their pockets.
Read "Turn in Your Drugs, Ask For Help, and I Won't Arrest You."
Leah Taylor (Richmond, VA)
Leah Taylor is a mother and worker who is a leader in the Fight for $15 Movement in Richmond, Virginia. She's been a fast food worker for nearly 30 years. Currently she works at KFC. She was one of the first fast food workers in the South to walk off the job in 2013.
Read "I've Worked at KFC for 9 Years and I Make Less Than $9 an Hour"
LeeAnne Walters (Norfolk, VA) and Melissa Mays (Flint, MI)
Melissa Mays and LeeAnne Walters, co-founders of Water You Fighting For?, an organization fighting to ensure that everyone in Flint has access to clean, safe, affordable water. LeeAnne has five children and has lived in Flint for nearly 5 years. Melissa has three sons and has lived in Flint since 2002.
Read "Fighting Government Corruption to Secure Safe Drinking Water in Flint, Michigan"
Brandon Smith (Chicago, IL)
Brandon Smith is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns, and pollution of land and water. He is the journalist who helped get the Laquan McDonald video released.
Read "The Rise of Democracy in America's Least-Democratic City"
James Tyson (Charlotte, NC)
"Jimmy" James Tyson was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and received his Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from Warren Wilson College. Most of his time is spent at home on the farm, milling wood, tending to horses or chickens, and managing day-to-day operations. On June 27th of 2015, he assisted Bree Newsome in removing the confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol.