Here's who you think has courage

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

Dr. Joo Ha Hwang, Chief of Gastroenterology at Harborview Medical Center, for his work to improve health outcomes for minorities and immigrants by educating the public and other doctors about the need for early detection of cancers that disproportionately affect minorities. He is partnering with Cornerstone Medical Services and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to launch the first stomach cancer prevention program in Washington state and has inspired many low income, limited English proficiency immigrants to start taking advantage of their health insurance and take charge of preventative health.

Don Harper of Our Parks Forever for taking on the downtown establishment over Proposition 1 and spreading the word to community groups about the lack of citizen oversight involved in the parks proposal on the primary ballot..

Drs. Elham Kazemi and Morva McDonald of the University of Washington's College of Education for ensuring that new teachers from the UW are well-versed on the issues and practice of closing persistent achievement gaps in our state for low-income students and students of color. Co-Directors of a new UW Center called INSPIRE (Innovations in System-wide Professional Improvement and Redesigns in Education), Elham puts her research into practice with impact (see Lakeridge Elementary math results in Renton) and Morva was tasked to re-vamp Teach For America’s Institute in Chicago this year because of the innovative support she gave to the Teach For America corps members placed in the Puget Sound region.

Lisa Macfarlane of Democrats for Education Reform-WA for her founding of the League of Education Voters and focus on getting Democrats to align with policies that put student interests first. This is a huge risk for Lisa, who is a vocal supporter of Democratic issues and ideals.

Jon Meis, the 22-year-old teaching assistant cum security desk monitor who subdued campus shooter Aaron Ybarra, who killed one and wounded three at Seattle Pacific University in June.

The citizens of Oso, Arlington and Darrington for their brave and compassionate response to the devastating March mudslide that killed 43 members of their community.

Veteran Seattle Police Detective Denise "Cookie" Bouldin for her strong commitment to community policing in Seattle's South Precinct, including all the Saturdays and Tuesday nights she's given up to run her chess club for South Seattle kids.

Senator Tim Sheldon for his bipartisan leadership in the 35th Legislative District.

Jesuit Fr. John Whitney of St. Joseph Church for allowing Eastside Catholic students to hold an open conversation about gay rights on the parish grounds when no other Catholic organization would allow them to do so. Fr. Whitney marches side-by-side with parishioners in the Pride Parade, speaks out about the mistreatment of nuns and advocates for their right to be heard, and is a voice of reason and openness in a sometimes closed religious structure.


Ryan Boudinot for his role in Seattle’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature. An author himself, Ryan has been organizing public meetings and meeting with city officials locally and abroad in order to develop and submit the application. This bid could result in a heightening of Seattle’s cultural landscape and has already instigated cross-pollination and collaboration between many of the city’s literary institutions.

Pastor Patrinell “Pat” Wright for her founding and leadership of the Total Experience Gospel Choir. The choir has performed in 38 states, on 5 continents and 22 countries, has members aged 7– 72 and has to its credits numerous awards and 7 recordings. Pat has always infused her leadership with charitable work and community engagement, leading trips in the US and overseas to help during time of crisis, like after Hurricane Katrina.

Jane Hodges, a freelance journalist (published by Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Seattle Times among others) and published author, who has put her work on hold in the last year and heavily invested her own time and money to jumpstart an interdisciplinary artists’ residency (The Mineral School) near Mount Rainier, which will support the development of new work and add to the development of the local community.

Bob Redmond, who left his position as Program Director at Town Hall to start a honey business, Urban Bee Company, and a nonprofit, The Common Acre, which produces programs about the intersection of earth and art. His Flight Path Project, which is produced by TCA and Port of Seattle, is turning unused airport scrub land into much needed pollinator habitat.

Matt Sullivan for establishing Light In The Attic Records, an independent record label known for its roster of reissue projects that have honored the mostly forgotten musicians from Seattle's funk heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, including Betty DavisSerge Gainsbourg, Jim Sullivan, Jane BirkinThe Free Design and many more as well as contemporary bands like The Black Angels and Nicole Willis and The Soul Investigators.


Community Sourced Capital for providing a new financial system that allows small, local businesses to draw on their customers and communities for help financing new projects and expansion. Community Sourced Capital provides the technology, administrative and marketing support as part of their larger goal to create stronger local economies.

John Legere of TMobile for his unapologetic disruption of mobile carrier standards. Not only has Legere rebuilt a once-teetering company, his business decisions have undermined predatory mobile carrier practices by offering unlimited data plans without extra fees and offering to pay mobile users fees if they switch carriers -- a practice that had previously kept mobile users tied down to plans for a minimum two years.

Ana Martinez and Jose Luis Pantiga-Flores, the husband-and-wife team who rebuilt Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana in South Seattle's The Station at Othello complex after a huge fire destroyed the restaurant's last location.

The employees of Scarecrow Video, who raised $100,000 on Kickstarter to transition the struggling video store, a mecca for cinephiles, into a non-profit that will provide educational opportunities and other cinematic programming in addition to its library of films.

Lifetime Achievement

Thatcher Bailey for his leadership in the drive for Bailey Boushay House (for those suffering from AIDS), the cultural enrichment of Port Townsend, and the Seattle Parks Foundation's push to save and create local parks through more secure funding.

Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute for making public arguments for years that creationism should be taught in public schools as "Intelligent Design" in the face of criticism and ridicule.

Kevin Daniels of Daniels Real Estate for his embrace of historic preservation and projects that benefit a wider neighborhood. Showed great patience in finally getting development at stadium north lot, a crucial benefit to Pioneer Square.

Jim Ellis for his work in the formation of Metro Transit, cleaning up Lake Washington, passing the Forward Thrust bond issues for multiple civic improvements, the construction of the Convention Center and Freeway Park, the approval of the Farmlands Preservation Act and the completion of the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Anne Focke for acting as the doyen of alternative arts in Washington by starting organizations, nurturing artists, building networks, and making the case for smaller, edgier arts in the region.

Billy Frank, the Native American environmental activist who asserted the tribal treaty rights to harvest salmon before those rights were recognized by the courts. After being arrested more than 50 times for his efforts, he was finally vindicated by the Federal courts in the famous 1974 Boldt Decision.

Bob Gogerty of Gogerty Marriott, Inc. for acting as the strategic driver behind dozens of civic projects that define our region today. He helped save Pike Place Market, secured funding for regional transit and delivered the community support needed to build both the Mariners' and Seahawks/Sounders' stadiums.

K.C. Golden for his advocacy for energy conservation and addressing climate change. His idealism is buttressed by a strong commitment to good science, practical solutions and respect for the political process.

Nick Hanauer of Second Avenue Partners for his outspoken leadership on the issues of income inequality and gun violence. Hanauer has used his influence and resources to make his case nationally on economics and locally on criminal background checks for gun purchases.

Fred Jarrett for his work to incorporate the worlds of Mercer Island politics, the Legislature, Boeing and now King County.

Gerry Johnson for his role as "the essential lawyer for nonprofit organizations in Seattle." Johnson has helped, pro-bono, with many startups; fought for important groups (Pike Market, MOHAI) in critical situations; built cases for public funding; and anchored many crucial organizations, such as Forterra, over decades.

John and Lauren Nesholm for their leadership with the Seattle Opera and Seattle Symphony. The Nesholms are both supportive of artists and shrewd about finances. Thatcher Bailey for his leadership in the drive for Bailey Boushay House for those suffering from AIDS, then worked many years for the cultural enrichment of Port Townsend, including publishing, and now leading the Seattle Parks Foundation to save and create local parks and secure better funding for same. Unfailingly optimistic and courteous.

Charles Royer for "decades of urban idealism," first as a newsman at KING, for 12 years as mayor when he shifted the focus to neighborhoods and social services and then during a long period of semi-retirement while advocating for urban design, Pioneer Square and the waterfront park.

Peter Steinbrueck for his advocacy, as city councilmember and public citizen, for the poor, the homeless, historic preservation, the Market and good urban design.

Maggie Walker for her hard work on Seattle's civic boards and her focus on big goals such as MOHAI, SAM, Waterfront Park, and environmental causes.


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