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Here's who you think has courage

Our second annual Courage Awards will take place October 23rd -- and we're looking for nominations!

Crosscut's Courage Awards are slated for October 23rd. We're looking for people who have innovated or persevered for the greater good despite personal or organizational risk; who have inspired and instructed others. We're interested in recognizing bold acts of leadership and highlighting the role of unsung heroes.

Read through the full list of people you nominated below in the categories of public service, culture, business and lifetime achievement.

Public Service

Afam Ayika for his relentless community organizing and leadership in racial justice issues, specifically around the school-to-prison pipeline. A Nigerian immigrant, Ayika is now the South Puget Sound Community Representative for the National Association of Social Workers and collaborates with multiple grassroots organizations and legislative bodies to push for restorative justice and racial healing. In spite of racism and economic injustice in his own life, he educates and empowers disadvantaged community members to speak their truth.

Thatcher Bailey, Ken Bounds and Brad Kahn of the Seattle Parks Foundation for their leadership in strategic thought, diligence & hard work, which ensured the successful passage of Proposition 1.

Jorge L. Baron of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project for his decades-long leadership and untiring defense of justice for low-income immigrants from around the world. 

Cody Benson-Hauk of the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates for her work to reorganize the organization, writing and landing key grants and managing the transfer to the Office of the Attorney General. In her brief tenure, Benson-Houck has redoubled the agencies' efforts to network with local Crime Victims' groups around the state of Washington, increased training opportunities for volunteers and staff and has made the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates a recognized agency nationally.

Dr. Stephan Blanford for his uncompensated work on the Seattle Public Schools board where his academic credentials, experience as an African-American male, spouse of a long-time SPS educator and SPS parent help him speak truth to power, insist on keeping the needs of those least-represented front and center and bring professionalism and stability to an otherwise fickle and unpredictable board.

David Doud of CandidateVerification.org for their work in bringing transparency to the election process by conducting full background checks of political candidates. After years of work, a majority of candidates in King County opted to go through a background screening process managed by CandidateVerification.

The students of Eastside Catholic High School for their protest over the firing of the school's gay vice principal Mark Zmuda, which ignited similar protests across the state.

Jesse Hagopian of Garfield High School for helping to organize a boycott of the MAP test, a standardized test many teachers believed was flawed, at Garfield High School. After initially threatening teachers with a 10 day suspension without pay, the school district eventually cancelled the test for all high schools. The boycott sparked a national movement to make education about critical thinking instead of filling in bubbles.

John Hamer of the Washington News Council for holding Washington news media publicly accountable for accuracy, fairness and ethics, by adjudicating major complaints against The Seattle Times, KIRO7-TV, KUOW-FM, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Olympian, and other news outlets.

Tim Harris of Real Change for his fearlessness as a change agent and truth teller.


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