social justice

The Intersection of Food and Social Justice, with Michelle Horovitz, Appetite for Change

Appetite for Change uses food as a tool for building health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. Michelle Horovitz grew up in the well-manicured suburbs of Minneapolis. If you ask her about the beginning of her journey to social change, she points to her Jewish upbringing. She says that her family made her aware of major injustices in the world. This gave her a sense of empathy for people who had been “othered.” Throughout high school and college, Michelle waited tables. She had a keen interest in food and wanted to be a chef. As an undergrad student living in West Philadelphia, she was exposed to a world that…

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A Catalyst for Caring and Building Community, with Rose McGee, Sweet Potato Comfort Pies

Rose McGee reminds me of that quote from tennis legend Arthur Ashe. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Rose calls sweet potato pie “the sacred desert of black culture.” She grew up with her grandmother and great-grandmother in Jackson, Tennessee. As an adult, Rose decided that she wanted to make sweet potato pie. She called her grandmother and got the recipe. “Nothing was written down,” she says. “It was a pinch of this and a handful of that.” Rose’s first experiments with making sweet potato pie did not turn out. But she kept baking. Soon, friends were requesting her pies. And after a while,…

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136, Vivek Maru, Namati | The Rule of Law for Everyone

Namati puts the rule of law in the hands of people. The rule of law is a bedrock of most modern societies. No one is above the law. We are all equal under the law. And yet, more than four billion people live outside of the protection of the law. Their rights are easily violated. They have no right to their land. They are denied basic human rights. They are threatened and intimidated, often by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Vivek Maru learned about social justice from his grandfather who was part of the Gandhian Movement. Vivek wrote his undergrad thesis on Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther…

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135, Gillian Caldwell, Global Witness | The Link Between Natural Resources, Conflict and Corruption

Global Witness investigates and exposes natural resource exploitation around the world. Have you ever wondered why many of the countries that are richest in natural resources, have some of the poorest populations? Countries that are rich in gems, minerals and other natural resources also have persistent poverty. In many cases, this is due to corruption and human rights abuses. How do you break the chain of corruption and abuse? First, it must be exposed. That is what Global Witness does. They document abuses of environmental and human rights. They work for justice for the exploited and they hold the powerful to account. Gillian Caldwell has been thinking about social justice…

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131, Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA | Vote with Your Dollars

Fair Trade USA fights poverty by matching conscious consumers with responsible companies. Increasingly, consumers are seeking out fair trade products. Almost 60% of US consumers are aware of the Fair Trade Certified label. Back in August when we spoke, Paul Rice told me, “I think it’s very empowering for people to realize that they can only vote for president once every four years, but they can vote for a better world with their shopping dollars, every single day.” Paul knew from a young age that he wanted to work in the social justice movement. He studied agricultural development and sustainability. When he graduated from college, he went to Nicaragua for…

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121, Lauren Fine, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project (YSRP) | Providing the Child Advocacy every Child Deserves

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project is dedicated to keeping kids out of adult jails and prisons. Did you make any bad decisions when you were ten years old? I know I did. In many states, including Pennsylvania, children as young as ten years old can be treated by the courts as an adult. When children come into the court system, they can be offered a public defender. However, when children are in trouble in a group, and we know that children often get into trouble in a group setting, only one of the children will be given a public defender. The others are appointed a private attorney. These private…

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119, Alana Greer, Community Justice Project, Inc. | Lawyers for the Movement

Social justice is Alana Greer’s family business. Nearly everyone you meet in the United States has a smart phone with a camera. This year, worldwide, we’ll take around a trillion photographs. This has turned us all into photojournalists, documenting our lives for the world to see. So, what has come out of this experience? Pictures of Big Foot? No. UFOs? No. What has become painfully clear is that black, brown and poor folks have a dramatically different experience than others. It is as if there are two Americas. One for light-skinned, well to-do folks and another for the rest of us. Alana Greer grew up in Miami in Latino neighborhood…

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101, Kat Taylor, Beneficial State Bank | Beneficial to All, Harmful to None

Can a bank be beneficial to all and harmful to none? Does your bank do only good and no harm? Do you know? Beneficial State Bank aims to bank in a way that is beneficial to all and harmful to none. It’s more than a platitude. They proactively measure themselves against goals such as how many affordable housing units they have financed, how many kilowatt hours of clean energy their loans have produced and how many millions of dollars they have loaned non-profits. Kat Taylor and her husband set out to create a business that would do social good with a sustainable business model. So far, they seem to be…

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094, Amara Humphry, Gooru | Education Technology to Navigate Learning

Amara Humphry’s journey to education technology began on a trip to Cambodia when she was in middle school. While touring a temple, Amara and her sister met two local girls. The girls took Amara and her sister to see some temple sites that were off of the beaten path. Though they did not speak the same language, they enjoyed the day together. At the end of the day, Amara’s aunt gave the local girls a small amount of money and asked the girls to spend the money on books. This seemed like a strange request to Amara. The girls lacked so much: food, clothing and other possessions. Why would her…

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Social Impact Without Being a Startup Founder, with Amanda LaGrange, TechDump

TechDump provides job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment. Social impact does not necessarily require you to be the founder of a social enterprise. Amanda LaGrange is living proof of that idea. Amanda spent more than seven years at General Mills, including time as a Senior Financial Analyst. Today, Amanda is the CEO of TechDump. TechDump refurbishes and recycles electronics, and in the process they create jobs for adults facing barriers to employment, especially those who have spent time in the justice system. TechDump accepts anything with a cable, cord or battery that is not a home appliance. Amanda brings her background in corporate finance to…

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Social Impact Without Being a Startup Founder, with Amanda LaGrange, TechDump