Petra Fellows

The Petra Foundation was established to sustain the trajectory of Petra Tölle Shattuck’s life by honoring the people she most admired—unsung local heroes who are fighting injustices and working to make the world more equitable and just. There are 100 courageous, inspiring Petra Fellows.

In 2015, when the Petra Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary, it ceased operations and forged a partnership with Community Change. Community Change carries on the legacy of the Fellowship each year by recognizing the work of an Emerging Change Champion at our annual Change Champions event, who then becomes an honorary member of the Petra Fellowship network.

Community Change is unique in its building a multi-issue movement with diverse leadership, focused on systemic change, national in scope but deeply grounded in grassroots communities. Petra Shattuck saw others as but one voice in a chorus of those willing to stand up against injustice. By forging the links between Petra Fellows and other leaders at the Community Change, the chorus gets louder, the force against injustice gets stronger, the movement grows.

  • Julian Aguon

    Julian Aguon

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Julian Aguon here.


    It’s become abundantly clear that global predatory capital which has brought us to this place cannot come up with an alternative. Indigenous people have a different imagination that may offer some solutions and thus they should be given maximum protection.

  • Nahar Alam

    Nahar Alam

    Fellowship Date: 1998

    Founder of Workers’ Awaaz; courageous organizer of immigrant and domestic workers subjected to cruelty, abuse, and exploitation.

    You can read more about Nahar Alam here.


    It is shameful in our country to talk about abuse–if you are a woman, you have to suffer. No one wants to hear about it.

  • Susana Almanza

    Susana Almanza

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Susana Almanza here.


    People have learned that they may not be rich, they may not be politically connected, but that they do have a voice–and they can make things happen.

  • Pablo Alvarado

    Pablo Alvarado

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Pablo Alvarado here.


    Through organizing on a local level, workers become good political analysts…Day laborers are capable of acting for themselves.

  • Robert Avant

    Robert Avant (d.2008)

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Robert Avant here.


    It sounds wonderful to say that Mississippi has more black elected officials than any other state in the nation, but laws have been changed to make sure those officials don’t have power, so many are merely fixtures in a seat. Forty years later, we are still fighting the same fight for justice and equality.

  • Frank Bardacke

    Frank Bardacke

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Frank Bardacke here.


    As our cities and towns, our land and our water, become nothing but inputs in a worldwide system of exploitation, loyalty to the home land, to local communities, becomes an act of resistance.

  • Grace Bauer

    Grace Bauer

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Grace Bauer here.

  • Ellen Baxter

    Ellen Baxter

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ellen Baxter here.


    It is un-American to have human suffering so visible.

  • Hava Beller

    Hava Beller

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Hava Beller here.


    Privately, the film was a way for me to thank the German resisters, on my knees, for standing up against injustice and for sacrificing their lives for people they didn’t even know.

  • Soccorro Hernandez Bernasconi

    Soccorro Hernandez Bernasconi

    Fellowship Date: 1996

    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.

    You can read more about Soccorro Hernandez Bernasconi here.


    I tell the kids about transformation–that it is possible to change from someone who hits and kills to someone who brings light into the lives of others.

  • Anu Bhagwati

    Anu Bhagwati

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Anu Bhagwati here.


    We have to redress healthcare disparities, unreasonable burdens of proof of disabilities, a culture that suppresses reports of sexual assault and harassment and the rising rate of homelessness among women veterans.

  • Kekuni Blaisdell

    Kekuni Blaisdell

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Kekuni Blaisdell here.


    In order to restore our health in all ways we must be clear on our identity–we are not Americans, not American Indians, not even Hawaiians. We are Kanaka Maoli.

  • Lillie Branch-Kennedy

    Lillie Branch-Kennedy

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Lillie Branch-Kennedy here.


    I’m not a doctor, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t have credentials, but I do have common sense. And I know it’s time for common sense reform of our criminal justice system.

  • Devin Burghart

    Devin Burghart

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Devin Burghart here.


    Devin Burghart, director of the Center for New Community’s Building Democracy Initiative, tracks and unmasks white supremacists in all their disguises and counters messages of hate, bigotry, intimidation and violence through research, community organizing, education and training.

  • Mattie Butler

    Mattie Butler

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Mattie Butler here.


    I’m about working with those people who can’t connect to the economic engine of this country.

  • Mary Caferro

    Mary Caferro

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Mary Caferro here.


    Healthcare is a human right.

  • James Callen

    James Callen

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about James Callen here.


    The rule of law is the cornerstone of our democracy. Organized crime and public corruption sap a community’s resources and self-esteem, corrupt its institutions and deprive its citizens of the opportunity to live, work and raise a family in a decent, democratic environment.

  • Sandra Campbell-Jackson

    Sandra Campbell-Jackson

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Sandra Campbell-Jackson here.


    Some people have maternal spirits and I believe mine is one of them… My mission is to help people create what they need for themselves by helping families give care to one another.

  • Robin Cannon

    Robin Cannon

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Robin Cannon here.


    I take environmental justice to heart the same way someone else might take housing to heart. I work on it for you and me, knowing others are working on issues I can’t get to.

  • Marcia Capuano

    Marcia Capuano

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Marcia Capuano here.


    It’s been a rude awakening to realize that no one has an answer on how to best educate kids caught in the cycle of poverty. Sure there’s research out there, but it’s often done in a vacuum, in places where the researchers don’t really know what’s going on.

  • Chhaya Chhoum

    Chhaya Chhoum

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Chhaya Chhoum here.


    We were dumped in the Bronx when the Bronx was burning. Now we must keep organizing and exposing inequality and fighting for respect until we change the balance of power.

  • Ron Chisom

    Ron Chisom

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ron Chisom here.


    With all the crime and drugs and murder out there it’s not easy to keep people positive–to bring people hope. That’s what organizing is all about.

  • Samuel Cotton

    Samuel Cotton (d.2004)

    Fellowship Date: 1997

    Founder of Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and the Sudan; a courageous voice in the United States against contemporary human bondage.

    You can read more about Samuel Cotton here.


    There is a charge that the African is the perfect slave because he doesn’t fight. I am fighting against that charge. That charge is not true.

  • Carrie Dann & Mary Dann

    Carrie Dann & Mary Dann (d.2005)

    Fellowship Date: 2003

    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.

    You can read more about Carrie Dann here.


    Think the Indian Wars are over? Then you better think again!

  • Murphy Davis

    Murphy Davis

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Murphy Davis here.


    We have had to learn to savor the victories very deliberately because they have to last a long time–for every victory [on death row] there are at least 25 defeats.

  • Susana DeAnda

    Susana DeAnda

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Susana DeAnda here.


    Clean drinking water is not a privilege, it’s a human right.

  • Geraldine DeGraffenreidt

    Geraldine DeGraffenreidt

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Geraldine DeGraffenreidt here.

  • Robert DeSena

    Robert DeSena

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Robert DeSena here.


    It is my dream to unite people across the nation and give them reasons to accept and be enriched by their differences.

  • Marian Edmonds Allen

    Marian Edmonds Allen

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Marian Edmonds Allen here. Click here to email her and here for Linkedin.

  • Dolores Farr

    Dolores Farr

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Dolores Farr here.


    Funding is still not adequate to meet the demands and too many babies continue to die. When we do not help women bring healthy babies into this world, we are losing our next generation.

  • Rey Faustino

    Rey Faustino

    Fellowship Date: 2013

    CEO of One Degree; fervent, innovative advocate to ensure all families have access to services they need to overcome poverty.

    You can read more about Rey Faustino here.

  • Lenny Foster

    Lenny Foster

    Fellowship Date: 1997

    Coordinator of National Native American Prisoners’ Rights Coalition; Director of Navajo Nations Corrections Project; advocate for prisoners’ religious freedoms.

    You can read more about Lenny Foster here.


    Spirituality is the foundation of American Indian culture–the root of a traditional way of life. If American Indian peoples are denied the right to exercise their spirituality, we’re talking about a denial that borders on cultural genocide.

  • Earnest Gates

    Earnest Gates

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Earnest Gates here.


    We knew the community was changing when you took a cab, gave your address, and the driver didn’t flinch. We used to have a joke that when Giadanoe’s Pizza would deliver to us, then you know you’ve arrived.

  • James Gilmore

    James Gilmore

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about James Gilmore here.


    Unfortunately, the police department’s idea of enforcing law and order is often in direct conflict with working for social justice.

  • Ana Guajardo Carrillo

    Ana Guajardo Carrillo

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ana Guajardo Carrillo here.


    When I first encountered racism, my mother told me to hold my head high. ‘We only crossed a river,’ she said. ‘They crossed an ocean.’

  • Roberta Guaspari

    Roberta Guaspari

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Roberta Guaspari here.


    With the violin, I can get into kids’ hearts and souls.

  • Clayton Guyton

    Clayton Guyton

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Clayton Guyton here.


    Ex-prisoners, drug addicts and dealers are not nobodies. We treat them with respect. They are capable of contributing.

  • Graylan Scott Hagler

    Graylan Scott Hagler

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Graylan Scott Hagler here.


    People need to remember historically what the struggle has been about and therefore what it is about. It has never been about peer assimilation–it has been about having a place in society to be yourself–to control your own future.

  • Juan Haro

    Juan Haro

    Fellowship Date: 2013

    Director, Movement for Justice in El Barrio; an organizer who empowers and fosters leadership in NYC’s low-income communities to fight oppression.

    You can read more about Juan Haro here.

  • David Hawk

    David Hawk

    Fellowship Date: 1989

    Founder of the Cambodian Documentation Commission; recognized for his work in the cause of international human rights in Southeast Asia.

    You can read more about David Hawk here.


    Genocide and other kinds of large-scale political murder usually happen in distant lands, away from TV cameras, to globally unimportant peoples whose suffering is quickly forgotten in the vagaries of international politics.

  • Haleemah Henderson

    Haleemah Henderson

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Haleemah Henderson here.

  • Michael Hurwitz & Ian Marvy

    Michael Hurwitz & Ian Marvy

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Michael Hurwitz and Ian Marvy here.


    At Added Value we promote ‘food security,’ the idea that all people should have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

    — Michael Hurwitz

    Some folks say that youth are the future. We say that youth are here today and they can make a difference.

    — Ian Marvy

  • Rahim Jenkins

    Rahim Jenkins

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Rahim Jenkins here.


    Who’s killed 120 black women in Washington D.C.? What are we doing about it? This illness of violence is not just in inner city America, but everywhere.

  • Maria Jimenez

    Maria Jimenez

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Maria Jimenez here.


    We uphold the basic human rights of all persons, and though we work under difficult conditions, we work with a sense of hope that we are building a more fair and just society.

  • Wahleah Johns

    Wahleah Johns

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Wahleah Johns here.


    We are modeling green technologies in line with traditional indigenous values and practices to create opportunities for our young people to stay on the reservation and to promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle for future generations.

  • Tina Johnstone

    Tina Johnstone

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Tina Johnstone here.


    The greatest legacy I can give my kids is a safer country in which to raise their own children.

  • Juanita Kirschke

    Juanita Kirschke

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Juanita Kirschke here.


    Holding immigrant children and families incommunicado, denying them adequate clothing, exercise, showers or even toothbrushes, says more about those who detain than those who are detained.

  • Al Kurland

    Al Kurland

    Fellowship Date: 1994

    Educator and community organizer; recognized for his commitment to and support of urban youth in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

    You can read more about Al Kurland here.


    My dedication to working with young people is to create the things that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

  • Olin Lagon

    Olin Lagon

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Olin Lagon here.


    We envisioned digital technology centers owned and operated by indigenous communities in primarily rural areas with no commercial jobs or business infrastructure, much less Internet access. There’s an abundance of talent that can be tapped when people are made real partners.

  • Nikki Lewis

    Nikki Lewis

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Nikki Lewis here.


    You are the consumer: If you dine at a restaurant where workers are treated fairly, you will be rewarded with an experience that does not consume the suffering of those who prepare and serve your food.

  • Carrie Ann Lucas

    Carrie Ann Lucas

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Carrie Ann Lucas here.


    We should not be social-engineering families on the basis of things like poverty or disabilities.

  • Allan Macurdy

    Allan Macurdy (d.2008)

    Fellowship Date: 1994

    Scholar and activist; recognized for his work on behalf of people with disabilities and other minority communities.

    You can read more about Allan Macurdy here.


    My attempts as a child to be like, and to look like, the able-bodied was buying into my own oppression. I was perpetuating a belief that people without disabilities were at the top of the hierarchy, and those with more damaged goods were at the bottom.

  • Kamau Marcharia

    Kamau Marcharia

    Fellowship Date: 1991

    Community organizer; recognized for his efforts to empower African-American citizens in rural South Carolina.

    You can read more about Kamau Marcharia here.


    I organize because I believe in revolution. Why can’t I say ‘Give me liberty or give me death?’ Why can’t I go to war to guarantee freedom for me, my people and my children? I organize because I don’t want to be a slave.

  • Emily Maw

    Emily Maw

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Emily Maw here.


    I focus solely on wrongful convictions in cases of life without parole in Louisiana and Mississippi, the two states with the highest incarceration rates in the country–and the world.

  • Benita Miller

    Benita Miller

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Benita Miller here.


    Being the daughter of teen parents, I knew the story of these teenage mothers did not have to be one of another generation living in poverty if we could make sure they had access to education.

  • Tirso Moreno

    Tirso Moreno

    Fellowship Date: 1993

    Coordinator and founder of the Farm Workers Association of Central Florida; recognized for seeking improved wages and safer working conditions for farm workers.

    You can read more about Tirso Moreno here.


    It was hard to change from a fruit and vegetable picker to be an organizer, because everyone knew me as a picker and they didn’t think I had the capacity to lead my people.

  • Audrey Morrissey

    Audrey Morrissey

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Audrey Morrissey here.


    Prostituted girls are victims, not criminals. They deserve a compassionate response to their trauma.

  • Vivian Nixon

    Vivian Nixon

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Vivian Nixon here.


    Every prison sentence ultimately becomes a life sentence because of the collateral damage.

  • Parisa Norouzi

    Parisa Norouzi

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Parisa Norouzi here.

  • Martha Ojeda

    Martha Ojeda

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Martha Ojeda here.


    Ten years after NAFTA, the aftershocks continue to reverberate in the erosion of workers’ salaries and rights, the further pollution of their bodies, air and water and the sabotaged efforts for legal redress.

  • Gerald One Feather

    Gerald One Feather

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Gerald One Feather here.


    We have to learn to live in two worlds, the white man’s world and the Lakota world… to learn each of their values, which are totally different, in order to survive.

  • Ken Paff

    Ken Paff

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ken Paff here.


    Being union-minded opens the door to casting off racism and prejudice because in a union everybody needs each other–you’ll see truck drivers from Nashville supporting the case of Mexican meat packers in Pasco, Washington.

  • Tyrone Parker

    Tyrone Parker

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Tyrone Parker here.


    I always say, if somebody started (the street violence), then somebody can end it.

  • Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles Paz y Puente

    Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles Paz y Puente

    Fellowship Date: 2015

    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.

    You can read more about Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles Paz y Puente here.

  • Darby Penney

    Darby Penney

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Darby Penney here.


    The entire public mental health system in America rests on the threat of force and coercion. For the first time a national group recognizes that those of us fighting for the rights of mental patients are part of the broader social justice movement.

  • Rhonda Perry

    Rhonda Perry

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Rhonda Perry here.


    If agricultural subsidies are not replaced by mechanisms that enable farmers to get a fair price from the marketplace, the family farm system of agriculture in this country is going to be destroyed.

  • Ron Podlaski

    Ron Podlaski

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ron Podlaski here.


    I often feel as if I’m alone in this work. Americans have turned their backs on the legacy of problems in Southeast Asia. And then I have to remember that leaders are the ones at the grass roots level, the first ones to stick their feet into the pond to see if it’s safe for everyone else to go ahead. I’m not afraid to go into that pond first.

  • Esther Portillo

    Esther Portillo

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Esther Portillo here.


    The people I work with fled civil war in their countries. I tell them, if you can survive that, you can fight for your rights as a tenant.

  • Lucy Poulin

    Lucy Poulin

    Fellowship Date: 1993

    Member and leader of Homeworkers Organized for More Employment; recognized for fighting unemployment, illiteracy, and despair among the rural poor in northern Maine.

    You can read more about Lucy Poulin here.


    It’s a privilege to work with good people and to do good work. There is nothing to prevent me from living my conscience other than myself.

  • Ninaj Raoul

    Ninaj Raoul

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Ninaj Raoul here.


    It is past time to correct the U.S.’s indefensible discriminatory policy toward Haitian refugees.

  • Danalynn Recer

    Danalynn Recer

    Fellowship Date: 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.”

    You can read more about Danalynn Recer here.


    Every defendant fighting for their life deserves for the jury making that decision to know about the life they are being asked to take.

  • Jacqueline Robarge

    Jacqueline Robarge

    Fellowship Date: 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.

    You can read more about Jacqueline Robarge here.


    My work is a health and human rights response to women traumatized by violence, the street economy and the criminal system.