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THE GIRAFFE HEROES PROJECT was born in the head and heart of Ann Medlock, a freelance editor, publicist, and writer living in Manhattan. She started the project as a non-profit organization in 1984 as an antidote to what she saw as: "the mind-numbing violence and trivia that pervaded the media, eroding civic energy and hope." Founder Ann Medlock believed then as she still does three decades later: "People needed to know about the heroes of our times, and all that they are accomplishing as courageous, compassionate citizens." The Giraffe Heroes Project has now honored over a thousand Giraffes, and reached over a quarter of a million kids in schools all over America and around the world. We honor the risk-takers: people who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the United States and around the world. Join us today, and #StickYourNeckOut for the common good!

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A GIRAFFE CHAMPIONING ELEPHANTS It takes a special kind of person to devote her life not to an individual, not to a group of individuals, but to a species. Sangduen Chailert—known as “Lek”—is definitely a special person. Lek is the co-founder and the on-site director of the Elephant Nature Park, in northern Thailand, a rescue and rehabilitation center for elephants. Since 1996, the park has rescued dozens of elephants, and provided a natural environment in which to care for them. Lek’s day typically begins at 6:30 in the morning and continues to almost midnight. She routinely heals, feeds, and otherwise tends to 35 elephants or more, some as young as 1 and some as old as 80. She also gives weekly talks to humans, mostly in Thai but some in English, on protecting these endangered creatures. There’s one thing Lek does that somewhat endangers her: She campaigns against “crushing,” the stabbing, beating, and starving that handlers do in order to “tame” an elephant. This has earned her the enmity of certain officials in the Thai government; Thailand's economy counts on tourism, and when foreigners are informed about how endangered animals are being mistreated, Thailand loses some of its "romantic" image. The Park, and Lek herself, have been subject to harassment, raids, and threats over the past several years. For example, in 2012, employees of the Park were interrogated for over 13 hours by dozens of armed officials investigating an "anonymous" complaint that 70 wild elephants were being abused there; the complaint was baseless, and probably fabricated. Despite such incidents, Lek continues to speak out about how animals—particularly elephants—are treated throughout southeast Asia. As she said at the time of the raid, “We will do whatever possible to protect our elephants. Today I prepare to go to jail, but the fight for my animals and justice will never stop.” Lek grew up poor in a rural mountain village of northern Thailand, but she worked hard and earned a B.A. from Chiang Mai University, something rare for a woman in her circumstances. When she was a girl, her family had cared for an elephant, and Lek’s relationship with that elephant led to her vision of caring for all elephants. When she saw the poor conditions that elephants were living under, that vision became a mission. Elephants are dwindling in number. In the 1980s, Thailand had over 100,000; in 2013, the number is closer to 5,000. Many of those are in captivity, neglected, or—often worse—used in entertainment venues, where they are regularly brutalized. Lek herself says, “They are facing a tough time, and, if we don’t do something now, the elephants won’t be with us for much longer.” Here's a glimpse of what it's like to take care of a sick elephant, in Lek’s own words: “A whole month I have to stay with the baby elephant in his pen. The more time I spend with him, I feel that I can help him survive. Most people who first see him doubt that he survive, but I have promised myself I will coax him to health. I firmly believe that my love will heal him . . . “The month went past so quickly, he is healing and getting better, his wounds are closing. His skins has peeled many times from sunburn. He can have a bath and I put coconut oil on him after bath. He has put on weight, but I have lost 5 kilo of my own. Finally my body couldn't cope and I fall into a deep sleep one night. I am so tired and fall asleep. I was awakened by a gentle massage from little feet. I open my eyes and see what he is doing. What will he do next if I don't wake up? The baby tried hard to push me to stand up. He use his trunk to touch my nose, checking I am still alive. Impatience gets the better of him and he starts to trumpet and kicking me to wake up. I stand up and hug him. He shrinks his trunk and shake the head, seeming so happy. Suddenly he opens his mouth and gives me big sloppy kisses.” Lek sums up her work this way: “It takes a stone heart for those lucky enough to work with elephants not to love them.” Year commended: 2013

DANCING INTO A NATION'S HEART Dora Andrade teaches poor kids in Fortaleza, Brazil to dance—with their bodies, and with their hearts and minds. In many societies, including Brazil’s, formal ballet training is for the children of the middle class and the wealthy. Some Brazilians were appalled by the idea of barrio kids performing ballet in theatres, even telling Andrade that her “poor little creatures” would get nice theaters dirty or break things there. The doubters certainly weren’t interested in attending a performance. Now, Andrade’s dancers are so renowned they play to sold-out audiences and are favorites of the nation’s press. Their prominence helps them bring national attention to the plight of the poor, and their work with Andrade brings the kids not only dance training but also meals, medical exams, dental care, vaccinations, computer training, etiquette lessons, confidence in their own abilities and hope for bettering their lives. It’s far more than Andrade envisioned doing when she opened her ballet school. But the girls arriving for class were so unhealthy, undernourished and listless, Andrade realized there was a lot they needed before they could dance. Andrade had a reputation for pioneering—she’d staged ballets performed by pregnant women and by grandmothers, sometimes performing in public plazas. Faced now with rooms full of hungry girls, many of them ill, Andrade made the leap to be more than a ballet teacher to them. Today, Andrade and her expanding staff teach more than 350 students each year—including boys—about music and theater and encourage them to read, maintain good grades and aspire to higher education. Andrade has enrolled more than 70 percent of the kids’ parents in educational programs too. The Forteleza kids have performed before thousands of people and the school is being duplicated in other Brazilian cities. The ultimate accolade? Andrade’s school has grown so popular that some rich families have tried to fake poverty in order to get their children enrolled.

There is, at long last, news of Zimbabwe Giraffe Hero Itai Dzamara. It's not good news, but his supporters are working hard to get him released. Here's the report from the Director of GH Zimbabwe, Terry Mutsvanga: "I humbly inform you that at 14 00 hrs,a group of 15 baton wielding police officers including some state agents clad in civilian clothing forcibly dispersed a group comprising of myself and eight Pro Dzamara activists who were sticking posters calling for the release of Itai Dzamara in the Africa Unity Square The officers proceeded to confiscate all the posters and ordered us to leave Africa Unity Square. We resisted the move and challenged them to return the posters since we were actually aiding them with the search of the missing Pro Democracy activist. Following some consultation amongst themselves the civilian clad state agents then returned the posters and apologised saying they thought it was a demonstration. Currently our team is busy placing the posters around town in strategic places peacefully and were are very much thankful with the support that Giraffe Heroes International is making in calling for Itai's release. Will keep you updated on any developments Regards, Terry" YOU CAN HELP. Please email info33@zimbabwe-embassy.us, zimembassydc@gmail.com, and justice@justice.gov.zw. Tell them Itai Dzamara must be released, unharmed. Let's rescue a hero!

Next up in our banner here, a teen who's a veteran activist. SAVING THE EARTH FOR HIS GENERATION Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez loves the outdoors. Maybe it’s the Aztec genes passed on through his father’s side of the family; maybe it’s the environmental activism modeled by his mother. Or maybe it’s just that the forest around Boulder, Colorado, is stunning, and Xiuhtezcatl has grown up loving it. Whatever the reasons, when he was only six years old, Xiuhtezcatl realized that something was happening to his forest, and that something wasn’t good. It was getting warmer, the trees were dying, the logs were feeding huge fires, plant growth was disappearing, and species of animals were becoming endangered. The changes are so real and so serious that 6-year-old Xiuhtezcatl gave a speech at a rally that was organized to make people aware of the human causes of climate change. It's not abstract for him, and his up-close and personal familiarity with the forest holds him in good stead with climate change-deniers, as well as others who may deride him for being overly concerned. “The proof,” he says, “is right in front of us. This is happening now, this is happening here, and this is real.” Xiuhtezcatl has been working for the environment ever since that first speech, particularly as the voice of the Earth Guardians, a nonprofit environmental group for youth. Before he was even a teenager, Xiuhtezcatl had persuaded the Boulder City Council to remove pesticides from parks, to require companies to contain coal ash, to implement a fee on plastic bags, and to end a 20-year contract with a gas and electric energy company (in favor of renewable energy). He accomplished the pesticide action by organizing a press conference of over 50 youth and over 200 attendees. He accomplished the coal ash action by speaking at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing. He accomplished the plastic bags action by creating a multimedia presentation using “plastic bag monsters” and showing it to youth and city representatives. And he accomplished the gas and electric energy company action by going door-to-door and by speaking at Council meetings. He has helped to organize dozens of rallies, marches, presentations, and other events. He's worked with officials from the city, county, state, and U.S. government, and he’s collaborated with over 50 environmental organizations. He started and performs with a music group called Voice of Youth, for which he writes original music and lyrics to educate people about environmental issues. Imagine the guts it must take for a boy of 12 to deliver an address to a mayor, or a U.S. Senator, or a throng of hundreds. But Xiuhtezcatl is motivated: “I am on a mission to bring the awareness of our environmental and climate crisis to my generation.” Xiuhtezcatl’s message is simple: “We deserve to have a say in the kind of world we are going to inherit. Youth are innovative and have a clear understanding of the environmental crisis and what it will take to turn things around. We have a powerful voice, and people are listening.” It’s more than education, of course: It’s getting people to take action. Xiuhtezcatl is only too aware that he’s too young to vote and that he has to depend on adults to make substantive changes: “It’s really important,” he points out, “to let people know that instead of just knowing what the problem is and feeling terrible about it, you know what to do about it.” And that could be a good working definition of an activist. www.earthguardians.org. Age when commended: teen (13-19) Year commended: 2013 Occupation: Student

Vindication closer for fired whistleblowing air marshal

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After eight tortured years, vindication inches ever closer for Robert MacLean, fired federal air marshal.On Tuesday, an administrative judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security “to show cause why I should not find that (MacLean) has proven his affirmative defense of whistleblowing,” and gave…

Giraffe Hero Robert MacLean wins another round. If you care about being safe when you fly, you want him to keep winning.

Here's a profile of the Giraffe Hero in the upper left corner of our banner here. DEFENDING FIRST NATIONS' RIGHTS ~ ADAM ALLAN What do you do when your land is threatened, when your rights are ignored, when your community's health and safety are essentially sold to the highest corporate bidder? Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN)—1,000 members living on four reserves in northeastern Alberta, Canada—knows what to do: fight. Alberta, Canada, is the ACFN’s home—traditionally, culturally, geographically, politically. But that home is threatened because of the oil and tar sands industry. Oil and natural gas wells leave toxic wastes that contaminate plants as well as animals and their feeding habitats. They create huge amounts of greenhouse gases. They infringe on natives’ rights to hunt, fish, and gather. And they are correlated with numerous health problems, including particular kinds of cancer. Those wells continue to pollute the land, water, and air. At one point Adam and the ACFN were hoping that the provincial government would stop the encroachment on their land, but in 2012 Alberta came up with a plan that put only minor restrictions on development and, according to Adam, fell drastically short of the protections needed. “This is not our plan; it’s the government’s plan to annihilate our lands and our future,” he said. “There are no commitments to our people and no protection of our lands and rights. We thought we were working towards a partnership with the government, but this plan doesn’t reflect that.” For its part, Alberta’s government says that it will continue to try to engage the ACFN community, but that it had to balance “job creation and recreational opportunities” with environmental and cultural protections. A spokesman for the government said that “we need to take into account a number of perspectives and try to balance them the best that we can and that is what we believe we have done with this plan.” But Adam claims that the plan is not nearly balanced enough, especially in terms of protecting wildlife such as caribou and bison and in respecting ACFN treaty rights. He’s gone to court, numerous times, to have the ruling overturned. “The approval of the project,” he says, “was hypocritical; on one hand they outlined all of the various violations of laws and legislation but ultimately approved the project 'in the public interest.' Frankly, it’s insulting and unlawful.” The ACFN maintains that they’re not against development; in fact, they’ve established relationships with several industrial companies. But they do point to an “Elders Declaration” that protects their land. “We will hold the line and challenge all proposals, projects, and approvals,” says Adam, “that impact the lands, territory, and rights that are necessary for our cultural and treaty rights.” Adam and the ACFN have been drawing big names to their cause. In 2013, rocker Neil Young launched an “Honour the Treaties” tour, donating all proceeds of ticket sales to ACFN’s legal fund. Other celebrities—some concerned with the environment, others with native peoples’ rights, or both—have joined in. Regardless of what continues to happen in the courts—and so far, decisions have gone against the ACFN—Adam will continue to defend the land and his people at negotiating tables, public hearings, courts, and rallies, no matter what the cost: “We are fighting, and people across the country are waking up. I am here to tell you that the sleeping giant is being awakened, and this country will never be the same again until the issues affecting First Nations are addressed.” Year commended: 2014

As more women in the military refuse to keep quiet about assaults by their fellow personnel, we think of one of the first women to break the silence. BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON MILITARY MISOGYNY ~ PAULA COUGHLIN It’s one thing for a whistle-blower to stand up to a company; it’s quite another for a whistle-blower to stand up to the United States Navy. And when that whistle-blower is a woman—well, that takes real courage. In September 1991, when Paula Coughlin was a helicopter pilot and a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, she attended a Navy-sponsored conference called “Tailhook” in Las Vegas. Officially, the point of the conference is for officers to learn about advances in aviation technology. Unofficially, it was a wanton free-for-all that plays to the libidos of male officers. At the 1991 conference, hundreds of Navy personnel indecently assaulted the attending females. Emerging from an elevator, Coughlin herself was forced to “run the gauntlet”—passing along a line of officers who pawed and groped her, grabbing her breasts and trying to undress her. As she later told the WashingtonPost, “It was the most frightened I’ve ever been in my life. I thought, ‘I have no control over these guys. I’m going to be gang-raped.’” She was not alone. It turned out that at least 80 women were assaulted at Tailhook that year by these “officers and gentlemen." Coughlin dutifully reported what had happened to her superiors. Her complaints were treated casually or dismissed outright. She filed a formal complaint and was reassigned to desk duty. After more efforts, Coughlin succeeded in obtaining an investigation by the Naval Investigative Service. None of the more than 1,000 Tailhook attendees who were interviewed were willing to testify that anything was amiss at the conference. Nobody saw anything; nobody heard anything. Coughlin went public, and as a result some heads finally rolled. President George H.W. Bush saw the report on television and called Coughlin into his office and to the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Bush appeared emotional, saying that he could just imagine how Coughlin’s father—a former Navy pilot, like Bush himself—must have felt. On the other hand, a much less sympathetic Cheney told her, “Because of your complaint, I have had to remove the Secretary of the Navy.” Several other officers were subsequently disciplined, if lightly, but the damage to Coughlin’s career was done. She was ostracized at work and reviled in public; in February 1994 she resigned from the Navy. She sued both the Tailhook Association and the Las Vegas Hilton, settling out of court for with the former and getting a favorable jury determination from the latter. After the trial, though, it was no longer possible for her to associate with anyone in the Navy population. “I was in a café just after the trial,” says Coughlin, “and an irate woman came up to me and said, ‘God forgive me, because I’m a Christian, but you got what you deserved.’” The woman was referring to the groping, not the jury award. So Coughlin married a childhood friend—becoming Paula Puopolo—moved away, and took up both practicing and teaching yoga. All these decisions calmed her, drained her of her anger, and gave her some hope for the future. As she points out, “The philosophy [of yoga] opened me up to the idea that I could really stop hating . . ..” Women are still treated harshly in the U.S. armed forces, with thousands of reports of sexual abuse filed against military personnel each year. But Coughlin hopes that her incident—with all the negative publicity—helped to start the changes that must happen, but she’s concerned: “The climate for women in the military is probably better than it was just by the sheer number of females now entering. If a woman is lucky enough to work for a woman, she might get good support during a sexual-assault crisis—otherwise, it is completely up to the chain of command to informally or formally make the incident go away.” With more Paula Coughlins speaking out, the incidents will not go away. Update: As women members of the armed service follow her lead in refusing to keep quiet, Coughlin-Piopolo continues to speak in the media in defense of women’s right to serve without attacks from their fellow service members. Year commended: 1992

Ann

I have a new piece up on The Huffington Post--thoughts on our recent journey to Viet Nam. Please give it a read--and a Comment. I'm interested in how you see that war, all these years later. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-medlock/vietnam-then-and-now_b_7048342.html

Founder Ann Medlock has some interesting thoughts on visiting Viet Nam, 54 years after living there...

Bringing you, every day, a new Giraffe Hero from our storybank of hundreds... A TEEN STANDS UP TO THE SHAMERS~KATELYN CAMPBELL Consider, if you will, these messages about sex: “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you.” “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” “Condoms aren’t safe. Never been . . . never will be.” “Girls, you’re scarred for life.” “Sex can lead to scarred fallopian tubes and cancer . . . and you need to ask Jesus for forgiveness.” Now consider that these very messages are given routinely in U.S. public schools by a woman named Pam Stenzel, who spreads the word about “God’s plan for sexual purity.” In at least one instance, those messages didn’t go over very well. Katelyn Campbell was an 18-year-old honors student and student body vice president at Charleston, West Virginia’s, George Washington High School; she had already received a scholarship to Wellesley College for the following year. When she heard about Stenzel’s upcoming speech, she did some research on the woman and was appalled. She refused to attend the mandatory assembly, filed a complaint with the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and was interviewed by the local newspaper about the public-school-sponsored event. And that’s when the trouble started. The school principal thought that Stenzel’s speech was just fine. A student who recorded the speech, said, “Some of the people were crying as they left, because she [was] telling us that we’re trash and we’re useless if we’ve ever had sex before.” The principal went on the offensive: He called Campbell into his office and said, “How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?” Campbell filed an injunction against the principal and the school board to protect herself from retaliation; the injunction was denied. Her story spread through the national media. The local community took up sides, and students and others turned against her—in newspapers, online, and in the halls. “It started out with people saying, you know, ‘She’s a slut, she’s a liar, she’s doing this for attention,’” Campbell said. Then the Hate on Katelyn Facebook page appeared, and things got worse fast. People ostracized her. On one occasion, a football player spat on her. Then, a week before graduation, Campbell was told that though scheduled to be a commencement speaker, she wouldn’t be speaking after all. “It was really a slap in the face,” said Campbell. Then there was some good news: Wellesley College found out about the incident and issued public statements welcoming her to the university. A petition was circulated to let Campbell know that “Your actions prove that the college couldn’t be a better fit. . . . At Wellesley you will find students just like you: strong, independent, intelligent women who speak their minds and work to make the world a more just and equitable place.” Others supported her as well. Campbell continued to speak out about abstinence-only messages, particularly God-based abstinence-only messages (States such as West Virginia that promote such messages typically have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases): “West Virginia has the ninth highest pregnancy rate in the U.S.; I should be able to be informed in my school what birth control is and how I can get it. With the policy at GW . . . information about birth control and sex education has been suppressed. Our nurse wasn’t allowed to talk about where you can get birth control for free in the city of Charleston.” After the incident, Campbell received a national student leadership award. Her college plan, she says, is preparing for a career in public health. And she’s still speaking out about sex education. “I feel like I’ve been given a unique position to be a vehicle for social change,” she said. “I have the mic, so I might as well use it.” UPDATE: Campbell is studying at Wellesley, which welcomed her with great enthusiasm. Age when commended: teen (13-19) Year commended: 2013 Occupation: Student

In the current crisis about water shortages on the farming lands of California, we're remembering the late Giraffe Hero George Ballis, who devoted his life to championing small farmers. Here's what he started doing for them over 30 years ago. CHAMPIONING SMALL FARMERS George Ballis is a change agent. And he’s implemented change in two entirely different ways. An ex-Marine, Ballis had been standing up for social justice since he was a young photographer documenting the struggles and the dignity of migrant workers in the 1950s. He knew it wasn’t fair that giant agribusinesses were illegally appropriating federally irrigated lands meant for small farmers, so he founded National Land for the People (NLP) and led a 30-year battle for farmers’ rights. He brought his fight all the way to the Supreme Court, organizing pro bono lawyers to successfully use the Homestead Act of 1862 as grounds for guaranteeing farmers’ rights to their land. The Homestead Act granted 160 acres of public land to anyone willing to cultivate it. But railroads, banks, and agribusiness giants like Southern Pacific Company, Standard Oil, and Tenneco were taking water for parcels far exceeding 160 acres, squeezing out small farmers. NLP legal victories allowed farmers to purchase desirable land and become economically independent, but eventually these legal successes were overturned by Congress. Disappointed, Ballis realized that the deepest social change is founded on a change of consciousness—from an emphasis on individual greed to the awareness of inter-connection and the sacredness of all life. “We can’t do it alone,” says Ballis. “We must become vulnerable, open our hearts, and work together.” To that end, Ballis and his wife, Maia, poured all their resources into developing Sun Mountain, a 40-acre land trust with an environmental and spiritual mission in Toll House, California. At Sun Mountain, visitors can learn about such things as organic, sustainable agriculture; alternative energy sources (they’ve built a 5,000-square-foot center fueled by passive solar energy); the building of inexpensive hay-bale houses. The Ballises even provide shamanic journeying and training in herbs and natural healing. “What this place says to any middle-class American person is, ‘Get off your ass, buddy, take control of your life. Assume your own power, the responsibility, and the authority,’” says Ballis. When asked to name a tool that could be useful to anyone working for the common good, Ballis answered, “A mirror. It will remind you that you are part of a lot of the society’s problems and that you have a lot of authority to change things.” UPDATE: George Ballis died in 2010 after a lifetime of fighting for justice and for the right use of US land. Year commended: 1986 Occupation: Farmer

Ada Balcacer was honored as a Giraffe Hero almost 30 years ago. Now approaching 85, she's still a force in art, still a champion of women in the Dominican Republic. Here's the work she was honored for, and is still doing. FOSTERING CULTURAL ENTERPRISE When renowned painter Ada Balcacer was asked to give a speech to low-income women in her home city of Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic, she responded with a better idea. “These women are tired of speeches. Why don’t we teach them something so they can earn a living?” These wise words were the foundation of a new project – Women in Industry – a way to answer two of Balcacer’s biggest concerns - maintaining the historical arts and crafts of her beloved Dominican Republic, and helping local women gain financial security and independence. As an artist, Balcacer was proud of her country’s 500-year heritage of European and African cultures, and worried that future generations would lose touch with the traditions and crafts of the past. As a volunteer in a poor section of the city, she was also concerned about the lack of jobs for women. Women in Industry answered both issues – teaching women how to make traditional crafts for modern markets. “It’s what I call cultural enterprise,” Balcacer says. Linking the past to the future, Women in Industry teaches skills to a small group of women, who then train other women, who in turn train more women. “That’s the way things stay alive,” Ada explains, “when it goes from one generation to another.” Using Dominican themes, the group designs jewelry, dolls, masks, and pottery, and even creates fabrics for clothing. All items can be made from local materials. For Balcacer, nature and creativity go hand in hand. “Nature produces constantly a series of materials that will somehow be a part of our industrial future,” Balcacer says about her island. “Products from the sea, fibers from the trees… we live in an eternal spring…” Balcacer developed three levels of training to help women learn crafts, sell the crafts, and become independent businesswomen. Determined to see her project succeed, she worked tirelessly 80 hours a week and was willing to do all jobs necessary. “If I have to teach, I teach,” she says. “If I have to sell, I sell. If I have to administrate, I administrate.” Within it's first three years, Women in Industry grew from 45 members to 545. As small groups of trained women left the cooperative to open their own businesses, new students took their places. After only ten years, Balcacer could look with pride at thriving businesses run by women who once had had neither skills nor hope. She’s counting on these women to pass their skills and their new awareness of their cultural heritage to the next generation. Her first nine pupils went on to run Women in Industry. Balcacer, an internationally known painter, can devote more time to her own art. But she’ll always help others. “I will never be satisfied just working for myself” she declares. “Never. I have to work for myself and others. I feel it is the only way to be happy.” [Photo by Nicole Sanchez]

Recent Giraffe Heroes

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This is Sister Megan Rice, a nun for most of her 80+ years and a peace activist since the 1980s. She had been arrested more than three dozen times and had done time twice when she and two other peace activists performed what was called the most serious security breach in the history of US...

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Andy Hall, a Brit, works for Finnwatch, a world-wide nonprofit that spots human abuses around the world and works to stop them. When Hall called out Thailand's National Fruit Company for the way it treats its workers, he asked to work...

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This is Catherine Hamlin MD, who left her home in Australia in 1959 to provide gynecological care to poor women in Ethiopia. At 90, she's still doing that, focusing on one of the most distressing medical/social issues imaginable: obstetric fistulas.

This is an injury that women can...

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This is Hanna Hopko. She braved snipers' bullets in Kiev during a citizens' uprising that brought down a corrupt government there. Now she's leading a rapidly growing citizens' movement that's doing more than rising up and demanding...

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Imagine you're 11 years old and your body is twisting from scoliosis, causing you constant physical pain and making you look very different from other kids. You're scheduled for surgery to straighten your spine and your mom takes a "before" picture so you'll have a history of how you once...

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Bob Bajek, a reporter on a small-town newspaper in Illinois, came up with a Big Story: the town's recreational lake, where residents fished, swam, and boated, was highly toxic--a now defunct military base had dumped Agent Orange in the water....

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There were no protections for whistle-blowers in South Africa when businesswoman Wendy Addison reported her own corporate bosses for breaking the law. She was fired, got death threats, and was blacklisted, even in England, where she took her...

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This is veteran environmental activist, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez. He's 12. And he's been working to save his beloved Colorado for half of his life. It started when he saw that the forest near his home was changing. Trees were dying, plants...

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Allan Adam is Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan nation, whose lands lie within Alberta, Canada. These First Nation people have formal treaty rights that protect their lands from being taken or used by outsiders, but that treaty has been...

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Sangduen Chailert, known as "Lek," puts in 18-hour days caring for sick and injured elephants in a protected reserve she co-founded, the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand.

The dwindling elephant population is a world-wide...

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