Sarah Triano: Disabled and proud
“Internalized oppression and shame.” That was Sarah Triano's answer when the American Association of People with Disabilities asked candidates for the Hearne Leadership Award about the biggest barrier facing people with disabilities today.
“People think disabilities are barriers to be overcome, a tragedy that needs to be cured or fixed,” says Triano. “This stops us from realizing our full potential as human beings.”
After winning the annual award, Triano started a disability pride website, www.disabledandproud.org, and launched the nation's first disability pride parade in Chicago. The third annual pride parade, held on July 22, 2006, attracted more than 3,000 participants.
Triano hopes the parades will raise awareness in the broader community and help build bridges with other progressive activists. “I want people to realize that disabilities are a natural and beautiful part of human existence.”
Majora Carter: Urban environmentalist
When most people think of environmentalism, they think of saving rivers and forests—not cities. But Majora Carter is out to save her neck of the woods, which just happens to be the South Bronx, one of New York City's poorest and most polluted communities.
“I wanted to play offense, not defense,” Carter told Grist. “I wanted to give our community permission to dream, to plan for healthy air, healthy jobs, healthy children, and safe streets.”
Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx to clean up existing pollution, create “green-collar” jobs, and develop community green space and bike paths.
But Carter isn't just focused on the South Bronx. She's also working to bring the issues of low-income communities into the mainstream environmental conversation. “The debate has to examine how environmental improvements to low-income communities lift up the economy, safety, and morale, not just locally, but regionally and nationally.”
Will Braun: Demotorized soul
Many people would jump at the chance for a free plane ticket, especially to attend an event more than 1,300 miles away. Not Will Braun, editor of Geez magazine, who was invited this summer to the Nidus Festival, a Christian arts and social justice conference.
“They offered to fly me,” Braun explains. “But I said I'd bike instead.”
Braun pedaled nine days and 1,380 miles across Canada, from Winnipeg to Kitchener, as part of the Geez Demotorize Your Soul campaign, which encourages people to avoid air travel for a year, vacation within 100 miles of home, and see moving slowly as a spiritual exercise for saner living.
“It's now been three and a half years since I've been airborne. I feel more at ease. I feel strengthened by a sense of connection with the billions who never fly. I feel more grounded,” says Braun. “Remaining grounded is my prayer for those who suffer the collateral damage of oil wars and development.”
|Dr. Orin Guidry|
Dr. Orin Guidry: Medical ethics and lethal injection
Dr. Orin Guidry, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, has emerged as a clear voice in the debate. Anticipating that anesthesiologists may be asked to participate in executions, Guidry sent an eloquent letter to fellow anesthesiologists, emphasizing the ethical implications of participation.
While some speculate that lethal injection will be banned if anesthesiologists refuse to participate, Dr. Guidry stressed that doctors must be true to their ethical principles regardless of political implications.
“Lethal injection was not anesthesiology's idea,” Dr. Guidry wrote. “The fact that problems are surfacing is not our dilemma. The legal system has painted itself into this corner and it is not our obligation to get it out.”
Read the full text of Dr. Guidry's letter