Human Rights

Gary Hollander , Diverse & Resilient, Inc.
President and CEO
Diverse & Resilient, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Through his 25-year career in psychology, public health and research in Wisconsin, Gary Hollander came to know well that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have higher rates of HIV, mental health issues, STDs and partner violence than heterosexuals do. In Milwaukee alone, LGBT youth are twice as likely as their straight peers to smoke tobacco or marijuana, and five times as likely to be injured in school fights or attempt suicide.

David S.  Bazerman , Legal Aid Service of Broward County
Director, Tracey McPharlin Dependency Pro Bono Project
Legal Aid Service of Broward County
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

When 11-year-old Nubia Barahona was murdered by her adopted father in South Florida, her body found in a plastic bag, it shocked David Bazerman’s conscience. For years he’d worked to defend the rights of abused, neglected and abandoned children, and knew how the state’s legal system often neglected those children, too. “Had Nubia been represented by an attorney who would have pursued obvious concerns about the adoptive parents’ fitness,” he says, “she might be alive today.”

Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Purpose Prize Fellow

At a recent White House ceremony, Purpose Prize fellow Dolores Huerta became one of only 13 people – including such big names as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former astronaut John Glenn and musician Bob Dylan – to receive the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Shana Swiss , Women's Rights International
Women's Rights International
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

In the late 1980s at a Boston hospital, physician Shana Swiss treated a refugee woman with 19 stab wounds. The brutality made Swiss realize she wanted to do more for this patient than sew up her horrific wounds. “I had to do something to stop violence against women,” she says. The case inspired her to volunteer at Physicians for Human Rights in 1991.

Esther Hyneman , Women for Afghan Women
Board Member
Women for Afghan Women
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

When Esther Hyneman retired after decades as an English professor, she decided she wanted to pursue an international career. Outraged by the rape, murder and silencing of women under the Taliban, Hyneman became interested in advocacy work to help the women in Afghanistan achieve basic human rights – to safety, to an education, to work.

Carla Kelley , The Human Rights Education Center of Utah
Founder and Executive Director
The Human Rights Education Center of Utah
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

As a young single mother, Carla Kelley learned her middle child was gay.

“I knew how dangerous it was to be gay then ... and my first instinct was to protect him,” she says. She quickly grew to accept her son’s sexual orientation. Years later, in 1998, she was jolted by a trio of national tragedies: the race-related murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man in Texas; the torturous death of Matthew Shepard, killed for being gay by two men in Wyoming; and the Columbine massacre in Colorado, in which two students killed 13 classmates and then themselves.

Purpose Prize Winners Star in Sean Penn Documentary

In a new documentary produced by Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn, Purpose Prize winner Elizabeth Alderman recalls the horror she felt after she lost her 25-year-old son, Peter, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Irene Martinez , Instituto Para La Mujer de Hoy
Instituto Para La Mujer de Hoy
Launch Pad Finalist

Big Idea

Domestic violence is a social problem that affects us all, as children who grow up in violent homes are most likely to be violent. I see many mothers and children suffering from depression, humiliation and low self-esteem. Their emotional and mental health is so affected that their chances of success in school or work are greatly reduced. We must change the way violence is perceived and increase the knowledge of the effects it has on children. Involving victims in the solution is the answer.

See the (Real) World With Nick Kristof

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gotten the message from his readers: changing the world is not just for young people.

“Seniors, dig out your anti-malaria mosquito netting now,” Kristof wrote in his Sunday column, in which he announced that for his fifth annual “Win-a-Trip Contest” he’ll for the first time take someone over 60 along with a college student.

The 2010 Purpose Prize winners are all over 60 and have founded projects that have achieved sufficient success to justify the cash and acclaim that goes with the honor. At the awards ceremony in Philadelphia, there was almost no mention of politics in the ways we usually define it. What seemed to matter was the dedicated, even fierce commitment of individuals and their entrepreneurial enterprises.

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