Congratulations to our third and final round of winners in the 2012 DFA, America’s Voice and Center for Community Change scholarship program. We’re excited to have each of these talented and passionate change-makers at this year’s conference in Providence, RI.
Round 3 Winners:
Culver City, CA
Daniel is the co-chair of Move to Amend Los Angeles, an Occupy LA member, an organizer with the LA Media Reform Summit and a voting member on the Culver City Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration committee. Watching the documentary “Eyes on the Prize” in middle school was his wake-up call to activism. He is committed to work toward a truly representative democracy and a full recognition of human rights.
New York City, NY
Jesse has been writing on DailyKos.com under the screen-name MinistryOfTruth since 2008. By keeping each other informed, by organizing, by voting and through activism, he believes we can restore the American Dream. He believes we must to get money out of politics and do what we can to stem the rise in income inequality.
Huntington Park, CA
Born in Mexico, Maria is the only undocumented child in her family. She’s volunteered for the Huntington Park Police Department since age 14 and recently joined the Immigrant Youth Coalition of Los Angeles. She currently attends Rio Hondo College, where she will soon receive a degree in administration of justice. Her goal is to become a police officer and give back to her community by patrolling the city and deteriorating the constant fear many undocumented residents have toward the police.
Blanca had the recent privilege of working with the Campaign for an American DREAM, in which she was able to see firsthand how social policies affect those who do not exactly have the power to make their opinion heard. It was through this campaign that she realized we must educate our communities on how policies affect them.
Before Stephen made a professional move to social justice media and communications work, he worked as a journalist on four continents, where he had the chance to document the effects of global capitalism run wild and the fights of local people for dignity and respect. Since returning to the U.S., he’s had the opportunity to lead media and communications campaigns for organizations including the National Guestworker Alliance, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Excluded Worker Congress, ISAIAH, the Transportation Equity Network, Gamaliel, the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and the International Center for Transitional Justice.
Hilda’s first interest in politics stemmed from an event when she was only 12 years old. She represented her school in a ceremony and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That experience impacted her life forever. She believes blogging—much like politics—is a personal call to action. With responsible engagement they both offer solutions to many critical issues and causes. They both allow us to advocate and bring forth change.
Monterey Park, CA
The first time that Tommy was inspired to engage in significant organizing for change occurred when former CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger defunded University of California’s labor studies programs in 2003. Since then he’s successfully worked on and led union, political and issue-based campaigns. His proudest achievements are playing a leadership in the election of the first ever Chinese American woman, Judy Chu, to the US Congress and executing a communications strategy to present LGBT people and issues positively in Southern California’s Asian ethnic media. He’s also a formerly undocumented immigrant who was a first generation high school student.
Antonio Alburizures Lopez
Antonio is a Guatemalan citizen who came here at the age of 1. Undocumented and unafraid, he has been very vocal about the issues undocumented youth are facing locally in R.I and nationally. He started working with undocumented youth under the leadership and guidance of Tam Tran a national pioneer of the Dream Act movement. He believes education is a human right, a principle that shouldn’t ever be denied. He’s also worked alongside CASO, BIRC and IDEAS 4 NE to implement instate tuition in Rhode Island.
Adriana was first inspired to start blogging in 2007, but has been writing about political happenings since college. She grew up in a household where political opinion was encouraged so it’s not surprising that as an adult politics still interest her. One of the things that she writes about on is examining Latino leadership more critically. She feels that often in the Latino community, leaders are propped up because there are so few folks in positions of power but at the same time, not many people are examining these folks closely and looking at them in the context of how they relate to and represent the largest minority group in the country.
In 2009 Heather discovered that LGBT residents in Anchorage had no basic protections from discrimination. She found out a group called Equality Works and some local activists were trying to change that, and her and her husband got involved. They’ve created a blog to directly address some of the mis-truths being propagated by opponents to equality. They sat in on public meetings and testified in favor of equality. They saw the ordinance pass through our municipal assembly that would address this problem of unequal protection under the law. And they saw their Mayor, backed by the law’s opponents, veto it and claim lack of any evidence of discrimination. That’s when Heather knew this couldn’t be a one-time battle. She was going to have to be a better catalyst for change.
Mary Ellen Broderick
Mary Ellen is a New Mexico grassroots activist, co-founder of Democracy for New Mexico.com blog and meet-up. She’s a lesbian who has been in a committed loving relationship for 23 years. Her partner, Barbara Wold, who passed away suddenly on December 18, 2011, was the progressive will and unwavering backbone of their progressive community here in New Mexico. Mary Ellen recently declared her candidacy for New Mexico House of Representatives District 30.
Beth was a newspaper journalist for 15 years before becoming a full-time advocate for homeless animals through the Dixie Pet Underground Railroad, a pet rescue agency that she founded and direct. Her time is divided between that work and her involvement in Occupy Chattanooga. Through the Occupy movement, she has been drawn into other forms of activism and looks forward to continuing her work to improve the world for all creatures—human and non-human.
Price first got involved in political blogging during the early stages of the 2008 campaign in the Democratic Primary. He writes about economic issues in a post-Keynesian/modern monetary theory mindset, but also covers all issues. He believes President Obama and Democrats in Congress have failed to reign in our financial system and that we are also suffering from a lack of stimulus and the effective multipliers a full employment strategy would bring. Price is also an artist who provides artwork for his diaries on these issues every once in awhile.
Jesse has had a somewhat checkered career as an administrator in public health, teacher, pub server and stay-at-home dad. He has spent the past two years as an online campaigner and communications person with Jewish Voice for Peace and is ready to begin taking on more responsibilities and broader issues that affect even more people. One of his earliest memories of activism was when he tried to join an antiwar group as a 10 year old and was only put off when the person said “funny little kid” under their breath.
Jorge Gerado Zavala
Jorge has worked across the African-American, Asian-American and Latino communities to bridge issues of education, poverty, civic engagement and empowerment. With the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), he’s worked on diverse campaigns encompassing health and wellness, human rights and education matters.
Margaret was born fighting with an umbilical cord wrapped on her neck and to this day continues to fight on an array of social issues from death penalty abolitionism, racism, environmentalism, prison industrial complex, reproductive justice, immigration and police brutalism. Everyone in her family has been active for a cause, and she wanted to be part of the solution not the problem.
Imraan’s passion in life is to defend the rights and debunk myths about Islam and Muslims. Since high school and college, his professors told him he needed to pursue a career in journalism or writing, since he was able to give a unique perspective as an American-born Muslim. After 9/11, Imraan got into writing almost by accident—needing to vent about how he was feeling with the heavy Islamophobia showing up in the mainstream media.