Whether we’d like to admit it or not, social injustice is everywhere we look. From the lack of clean water in Flint Michigan to the police brutality across the nation, there is seemingly no end to the social injustices happening all around us. And while it might feel overwhelming at times, it’s important to remember that involvement, no matter how small, adds up to make big differences in the life of others. So, what exactly is happening in Washington, D.C. in the fight for what is right? Here are seven social justice warriors who are making a difference behind the scenes.
1. Patrice Sulton, Founder and Executive Director, DC Justice Lab
Patrice Amandla Sulton, founder and Executive Director of DC Justice Lab, is an attorney, professor, and criminal justice reform advocate based in Washington, D.C. Her mission is simple: changing the way people think about who we punish, why we punish, and how we punish. Together with the DC Justice Lab, she is working alongside peers to move towards sweeping changes in American criminal laws and policies.
2. Daniel Penchina, Executive Director, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL)
As Executive Director, Daniel Penchina works with his team at SMYAL in creating leadership and development opportunities, after-school programs, and counseling services designed to empower LGBTQ youth and educate their local community. Together they advocate for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood.
3. Daniel Del Pielago, Organizing Director, Empower DC
Empower DC works to strengthen organized political power among DC’s lowest income communities to address issues facing their communities. As the organizing director, Daniel Del Pielago has been organizing with communities of color int the DC area around the issues of preserving and improving affordable housing and traditional public education.
4. Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth
For more than a decade, Erich Pica has worked to reform U.S. tax and budget policy to reduce pollution and increase clean energy. As president of Friends of the Earth, he works to expose those who exploit the environment, and its people, for economic gain.
5. Alicia Horton, Executive Director, Thrive DC
Under the leadership of Alicia Horton, Thrive DC serves over 2,000 men, women, and children each year who are experiencing homelessness, unemployment, housing instability, and food insecurity. The group provides a wide range of services to help stabilize the lives of the DC area homeless and help them get back on their feet.
6. Nadia Nazar, Founder and Co-Executive Director, This Is Zero Hour
Nadia Nazar and her friends were frustrated by the inaction of elected officials and the fact that youth voices were almost always ignored in the conversation around climate change.
Together they founded This Is Zero Hour, a group dedicated to fighting for the next generations right to a safe, healthy, and clean environment.
7. Paula Fitzgerald, Director, Ayuda
As Executive Director of Ayuda (which means help in Spanish), Paula Fitzgerald works to increasing the availability of direct legal, social, and language services for more than 8,000 low-income immigrants annually. Under her leadership the Ayuda team has expanded their network through the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to reach a growing population of low-income immigrants.