"What drives people to public service is a sense of possibility."
—Henry Hampton, an African-American filmmaker whose productions, including Eyes on the Prize, focused on social justice
That sense of possibility is what drives each of the INDY's Citizen Award winners: the possibility that every person has a safe, warm place to live; that those with mental illness can recover and find peace in a welcoming community; that fewer—a lot fewer—people will die or be injured by a gun; that domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking are eradicated and the victims helped to heal; and that the state's agricultural workers are treated humanely and with dignity.
Since 1983, the INDY has honored social activists who have made the Triangle a more just and compassionate place.
We honor the Rev. Carolyn Schuldt of Open Table Ministry, the Rev. Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministries and Durham lawyer Scott Holmes, advocates for the homeless. Thava Mahadevan of Penny Lane Farm is changing the lives of those with serious mental illness to help them recover and be part of a community.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense has been standing up to the aggressive tactics of gun activists to educate business owners about their rights to prohibit firearms.
Monika Johnson-Hostler works tirelessly to curb human trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The people working in the fields, most of them immigrants, are also vulnerable to abuse: horrific housing conditions, sexual abuse, low pay, pesticide exposure. That's why the Farmworker Advocacy Network is helping protect agricultural workers who pick the food we eat.
We are also giving a special mention to the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, and the Moral Monday protesters. Those demonstrations have attracted national attention to the regressive policies of North Carolina—and the very real effects on the people of this state.