An environmental activist who lived through the trials and tribulations of the Second World War as a Canadian citizen starting in 1942. He and his family were sent to a concentration camp in Slocan in British Columbia with his father being sent to the labor camp Solsqua. They stayed in the camp till the end of the war in 1945. It was during his time that he gained his appreciation for nature and the dependent relationship humans have with it. His main mode of communicating his ideals and activism is through radio and television programs that explain the science behind the importance of conservation. Much of his work has reached the ears of many concerned people around the world while also explaining his findings in a clear and precise manner that the everyday individual can understand.
Cesar Chavez March 31, 1922 to April 23, 1993
One of the most famous political activists of the twentieth century Cesar Chavez is best known for securing the rights of farmers who for the longest time were not been paid properly and who were housed in serfdom like conditions. He was successful in his work because he had seen the inequality of the migrant farmer from his own perspective and was able to rally supporters through means of peaceful protests. An avid speaker against the Bracero Program that he saw as harmful to the rights of migrant farmers. His work forced growers to make several concessions to their workforce.
Chaz Bono March 4, 1969 to Present
Musician and gay rights activist, Chaz Bono is most famous for the documentary Becoming Chaz (2011) and his moderately successful band Ceremony. However, Mr. Bono is best known as being a public speaker fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community. He is a transgender man whose transition (process 2008-2010) became the topic of discussion in the United States and around the world. During an interview he claimed that he did not have his primary sex organs replaced. While not a major controversy it was a surprise for all those who were invested in his story. Bono’s activism work includes close ties with GLAAD and The Advocate.
Frederick Douglass February 1, 1818 - February 20, 1895
Most famous for his autobiography Douglass has given readers, students, and historians a look at what life as a slave was like during slavery’s end in the United States. His story is one of endurance and to many is seen as an important part of American history with the determination of one man showing that freedom is worth fighting for no matter the opposition. Before gaining his freedom in 1830, Douglass learned how to read from a combination of determination and cunning. However, he did not hoard what he learned, but would often teach others exposing others to possibilities. After gaining his freedom Douglass would spend his life advocating the rights for Black Americans and for women as well.
Alice Walker February 9, 1944 - Present
The Pulitzer Prize winning author behind the world renown book The Color Purple (1982) told the story of an African American woman dealing with the issues of both racism and patriarchal culture within African American communities. She started her career as an activist at Spelman College where she met her mentor Howard Zinn who is best known for his activism during the Civil Rights movement. Through her capacity as an author, she became a leader in the Black Arts movement. Walker has dedicated her life to boast social justice and activism through both her writings and time.
Leymah Gbowee February 1, 1972 to Present
A peace and women’s rights activist Gbowee is best known for leading the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that is said to have brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Gbowee’s focus was to better her nation and for the betterment of women. She has worked alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for this goal. During the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1996) she faced the ravages of war at a young age and from this experience she would join UNICEF to become a social worker to aid those with the trauma of war. For her work she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
One of the youngest environmental activists of the current generations, Ms. Thunberg is well known for calling on and participating in protests that involved students skipping their classes and protesting outside of the parliament of Sweden. Her movement now known as “Fridays of the Future” has become a worldwide movement that had caught the attention of millions around the world leading to Ms. Thunberg to speak at the COP 24 and the World Economic Forum as the best examples. Time Magazine has called her a “next generation leader,” her impact on the discussion of environmental issues around the world leading to change in her own native Sweden and around the world. Make the World Greta Again (2019) is an obvious play against president trump’s slogan “Make American Great Again '' as the two are known to have animosity for one another. This act solidifying Ms. Thunberg’s reputation of being a strong willed individual willing to stand up for what she believes in.
Alice Paul January 11, 1885 to July 9, 1977
One of the leading suffragettes of the 20th century, Alice Paul is best known for her work with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and for founding the National Woman’s Party (NWP) with Lucy Burns. Coming from a family of Quakers Ms. Paul was exposed to the idea that the genders were equal by her family and was encouraged to gain an education. She had earned her degree in biology in 1905 from Swarthmore College. Ms. Paul’s goal throughout life was to bring about change in the United States for women less fortunate than she was in terms of being able to gain the basic rights that most men in the United States at the time had, this including access to education. Her and a group of suffragettes known as the “Silent Sentinels” would begin an eighteen-month picket campaign starting in January 1917 to protest for women’s rights. It was this that would push the police to have them arrested. While in prison Paul would organize a hunger strike that would aid in generating more awareness and sympathy by the public to support women's rights. Ms. Paul’s actions have been directly associated with the passing of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1920.
Kailash Satyarthi January 11, 1954 to present
A leading figure in ending child labor around the world Mr. Satyarthi has founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) meaning Save Childhood Movement in 1980 to find and end child labor while also providing methods to rehabilitate children rescued from such curling conditions. This has been the goal of Mr. Satyarthi for some time, going as far back as his childhood when he noticed that his less fortunate peers were either in bonded labor or forced to work by their parents. He started his organization in the 1980’s and has been able to rescue 80,000 children from bounded labor since. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.