This year's Citizen Award winners ably demonstrate how committed individuals can make a difference in all levels of a community: Zoom in to several city blocks in Chapel Hill and watch as Sustaining OurSelves successfully protects two historically African-American neighborhoods from callous development. Countywide, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition wrested control from a GOP-dominated school board that was determined to strip public schools of their diversity—and ultimately short-shrift children of all socio-economic levels.
On a state level, Charmaine Fuller Cooper, executive director of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, is leading the charge to right one of the most despicable of wrongs: the 45-year, state-sponsored eugenics program, which sterilized at least 7,600 North Carolinians against their will.
Meanwhile, Clean Water for North Carolina has long fought alongside low-income neighborhoods and communities of color for the right to potable drinking water. The group's most recent battle is against fracking, a potential threat to the state's water resources.
In a special mention, we're recognizing the Occupy movements in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro, which have brought a global movement down to a local level, shining a light on issues of equality unique to the Triangle.
And finally, we catch up with a past Citizen Award winner, Eddie Davis, Class of 1985, to learn what he has achieved in the last 27 years.
Congratulations to all the winners. Your neighborhoods, cities and the entire state of North Carolina benefit from your pursuit of social justice.
We invite the public and the winners to a luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Cotton Room at Golden Belt, 807 E. Main St., Durham. Winners receive 10 free tickets; admission for the general public is $15.
Note: Due to a shift this year in when this issue is printed, the year 2011 has been skipped.
2010 N.C. Dream Team, Dan Hill, Amber Smith, New Hill Community Association
2009 Brother Ray Eurquhart, Judy Kincaid, Michelle Cotton Laws, Robert Dowling, Chase Foster
2008 Karen Rindge of WakeUP Wake County, Amanda Arrington of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, Gary Kueber of Endangered Durham, Granville Nonviolent Action Team (GNAT), Reggie Edwards of the Encouraging Place
2007 El Futuro, Stop Torture Now, Committee to Save the Lakewood Y, Haw River Assembly, Al McSurely
2006 Lanya Shapiro and Traction, the Pesticide Education Project, Margie Ellison, Chad Johnston and Andrew Pearson
2005 Bernice Wade and Barbara Stiles, Band Together, Code Pink, Chuck and Laura Richardson, Dr. Evelyn Schmidt, Thomas Savage
2004 Pete MacDowell, Peggy Misch, NCCU Civic Engagement Task Force, El Pueblo, Blaise Strenn
2003 Delores Bailey, Janet Colm, Earl Matlock, Marcia Owen, Lewis Pitts, SeeSaw Studio
2002 Ashley Forte, Ann Akland, Gene Galin, Caleb Southern, The Anti-Warriors
2001 Bill Padgett, Daniella Cook, DeWarren Langley, Gail Phares, Empowerment Inc. and Mark Chilton
2000 Bill Towe of Peace Action, Internationalist Books, The Hispanic Credit Union, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), Bertie Howard of the Africa News
1999 Alex Charns, Kamau and Mawiyah Kambon, Jo Sanders, Sidney Brodie, Louise Davis, Ken Rose and The Center for Death Penalty Litigation
1998 Rick Dove, Coalition for the Public Trust, Linda Wilson and Candles of Hope, Jimmy Leach, Myra Fuller and Rhondette Jones, Old West Durham Neighborhood Association
1997 Florence Siman-Zablah, N.C. Farmworkers' Project, Luis Alvarenga, Jovenes Lideres en Acción and Youth for Social Change, Lizette Cruz-Watko
1996 Helping Hands Center of Siler City, Chris Fitzsimon, Patrick O'Neill and Mary Rider, UNC Housekeepers Association, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA)
1995 Joe and Lucy Straley, Quinton Baker, Ron Mace, Cy King, Margaret Brown, Christine Strudwick
1994 Joe Neff, Falcon's Cry, Waltye Rasulala, Jim Baxter, Terry Grunwald, Sam Reed
1993 Roz Savitt, Northampton Citizens Against Pollution, Grace Higgs, Lynice Williams, Gretchen Durham
1992 Rev. Linda Jordan, Rev. Mahan Siler, Cash Michaels, Linda Mabry, Dietrich von Haugwitz, N.C. Community Land Trustees
1991 Sister Evelyn Mattern, Rev. Jim Lewis, Lisa Madry, Clay Thorp, Shirley McLain, Juanita McNeil, The Center for Peace Education
1990 John Bartlett, Rebecca Clark, Louise Kessel, Roy Gorman, Those Who Speak Out, NARAL-NC
1989 Jim Clark, Michael Bleyman, Dave Owens, Shiloh Coalition, Common Ground, Billie Rogers, Margaret Pollard
1988 Saladin Muhammad, Catherine Vicks, Julia Taylor, Center for Community Self-Help
1987 Phail Wynn Jr., Malcolm Potts, Center for Women's Economic Alternatives, Bill Holman, Jacques Menache
1986 Janet Hoyle, Mary Talbert, Mandy Carter, David Stanford, C.A.S.H. Volunteers
1985 Ann Shephard, Eddie Davis, The Lesbian and Gay Health Project, Rev. Wilson Lee, Melinda Lawrence
1984 Carolyn Allen, Lightning Brown, Bob Hall, Kenneth Duane Johnson, Joe Herzenberg, Jimmy Little, Gloria McCrae
1983 Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America, Deep River Citizens Coalition