More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and that number is growing.
Here are five urban heroes worth knowing.
These people have been honored as Giraffe Heroes because they stuck their necks out for the common good. They acted with courage and compassion to help make our cities better.
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Michael Houck of Portland, Oregon, has used his skills as an urban naturalist and his personal passion for preserving the natural beauty of his city, to get the whole city working on making Portland a model of using urban ecology to sustain a great quality of life for residents and for wild life. Michael Houck is currently the Executive Director of Urban Greenspaces Institute in Portland
Lettie Gay Carson of Newton, Pennsylvania was a social activist who fought for improving schools, building more public libraries, preserving railroad service to suburban communities, and cleaning up civic governments. She was president of the Harlem Valley Transportation Association (HVTA), and she promoted anti-pollution legislation, urban mass transport, the disposal of solid wastes and ocean sludge, and other public interest matters.
Judge Damon Keith has been a Giraffe for almost all his more than nine decades of life. He's been an outspoken champion of civil rights from his first days as a young attorney through his admonition of his fellow Federal judges who supported a voting rights decision that Judge Keith told them, loudly and publicly, was prejudiced against African-American voters.
Esther Calhoun started a group called Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, a citizens' group fighting a toxic 4 million-ton coal ash landfill in their community. Uniontown, Alabama, is poor and mostly African-American, and the corporation that owns the landfill has sued the citizens' group for $30 million, an obvious move to silence Calhoun and her neighbors. Calhoun refuses to back down.
Dora Andrade teaches poor kids in Fortaleza, Brazil to dance—with their bodies and with their hearts and minds. She sold her jewelry and used the cash to create EDISCA (School for Dance and Social Integration for Children and Adolescents), where she not only teaches dance and self respect, but provides access to meals, medical exams, dental care and computer training. EDISCA’s kids get such great care, wealthy families have tried to get their kids in.
The Giraffe Movement is spreading around the world -- look at Giraffe Heroes/Singapore!
And teachers -- remember to download our free curricula! They feature stories of real heroes and multimedia lesson plans. Kids find it easy to navigate the database, and it's always free to access, no sign up required.
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