People We Love

Yvonne Zick

Yvonne Zick: Mom's T-shirt makes a passion statement

Yvonne Zick didn't start out as an activist. In fact, this self-proclaimed “soccer mom” says, “I'm a really average person. Most people wouldn't expect any sort of political action from me.”

That all changed after Zick attended a neighborhood screening of The Motherhood Manifesto, a documentary focusing on the discrimination and lack of support that mothers face in the workplace. Zick left knowing that she needed to take action, but as a working mom, there simply wasn't much time.

Then Zick hit on a creative way to make a public statement: wear a t-shirt every day until a proposal for paid family leave passed in her home state of Washington.

Wearing the shirt in public has garnered a lot of attention, much of it positive. It has also provided an ice-breaker for other women to approach her to discuss the issues facing moms in the workplace. “Women don't normally commune like that,” Zick said. “But wearing this t-shirt gives women a way to start talking to each other.”

Rob “biko” Baker
Rob “biko” Baker.
Photo by Peter Diantoni.

Rob “biko” Baker: Recruiting hip-hop voters

If voting is cool among Milwaukee's youth, at least some of the credit goes to hip-hop artist Rob “biko” Baker, whose work with the Campaign Against Violence brought out thousands of first-time voters in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

In 2004, Baker returned to his inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood to find an epidemic of youth murder. His response: interrupt his Ph.D. studies in history at UCLA twice to lead get-out-the-vote campaigns for Milwaukee's youth.

“Young people need to see that voting is in their self-interest,” Baker says. “When you begin connecting the dots for them, they get it. I think we are only at the beginning of a new youth movement.”

Baker believes that getting out the vote is a necessary part of stemming the violence that plagues inner-city communities.

“To stop violence you have to both motivate young people to believe in themselves,” he says, “while systematically alleviating the structural problems they face on a daily basis.”

Janine Licare
Janine Licare.
Photo by Marianne Coates

Janine Licare: Kids can save the rainforest

At the age of nine, Janine Licare began selling artwork to raise money to save the rainforest. The problem? She later discovered that the money went to administrative costs rather than to purchasing the land she'd hoped to protect.

So with the help of her mom, Licare created an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit, Kids Saving the Rainforest.

“Now any kid in the world knows exactly where their hard-earned money goes—a tree planted in the rainforest, maintenance of a monkey bridge, care for an animal in our rehab center, or purchasing actual land,” says Licare, now 17, who has lived in Costa Rica since she was four.

Licare also teaches tourists, locals, and school children about the importance of saving the rainforest.

While some find it odd for a young person to devote so much time to volunteer projects, Licare finds it unremarkable. “It's part of my everyday life, so for me, it's normal.”

Brother Joris. Photo by Owen Ogletree.
Brother Joris.
Photo by Owen Ogletree.

Brother Joris: Unbowed before the money god

Ramp up production and raise the price. What brewer would say no to these requests from international beer distributors?

The answer: Brother Joris of the Westvleteren Brewery at Belgium's St. Sixtus Abbey. The abbey produces small batches of beer, sells only to local consumers, and prohibits its beers from being resold or exported.

When top billing by a beer connoisseur website created a very un-Trappist black market for the abbey's beer, the distributors came begging. Brother Joris declined and asked consumers to forgo Westvleteren for other Trappist beers brewed in larger batches and exported legally.

For Brother Joris and his fellow monks, brewing beer is not about making money or growing a business. Rather, it's an integral part of pursuing a spiritual life. “Prayer and work are the two pillars of a Trappist life,” Brother Joris explains. “There has to be a balance between work and monastic life. That balance is there. We earn our living. There's no reason to change that, or make more money.”



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