Meet the Advocates Mobilizing for More Equitable Societies
A climate-change refugee, food redistributor, and more.
Each year, GOOD celebrates 100 people from around the globe who are improving our world in creative and innovative ways—advocates, inventors, educators, creatives, business leaders and more who are speaking up, building things, campaigning for change, and ultimately refusing to accept the status quo.
In this section, meet 12 advocates creating change to promote social, political, and economic justice.
Jane Marx’s Social Impact Comes Caffeinated
After founding Long Street Coffee last summer out of a converted garage in Melbourne, Jane Marxand her husband, Francois, turned their café into a platform for creating awareness of Australia’s severe restrictions on refugee rights, employing refugees and providing paid, six-month barista trainee-ships to asylum seekers.
LocoL Reimagines Fast Food
Los Angeles, San Francisco
Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson and Kogi food truck king Roy Choi bring affordable Korean-American fusion to neglected food deserts with fast-casual chain LocoL. Their “burgs” are beef patties cut with grains, seaweed, and tofu, though customers at the inaugural location in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood could barely tell the difference. Next, the pair will launch LocoL in San Francisco.
Ioane Teitiota Challenges Refugee Classifications
Rising sea levels threaten the existence of Ioane Teitiota’s home country of Kiribati—a low-lying island chain in the Pacific—so he sought refuge in New Zealand, campaigning to become the first climate change refugee. After a four-year legal battle, Teitiota was deported, but not before raising international awareness of Kiribati’s plight and the effect of climate change as its own form of persecution.
Li Tingting is China’s Fiercest Feminist
Chinese performance artist Li Tingting—who has taken over male public restrooms and marched down Beijing streets wearing a blood-splattered wedding dress to protest gender and sexual inequality—spent 37 days in prison after her activist group, dubbed the “Feminist Five,” planned demonstrations for last year’s International Women’s Day. Since her release, Tingting has been studying law, aiming to become the first openly lesbian attorney in Chinese history.
Nafisa Kaptownwala Sees Beauty in Many Shades
At just 27 years old, Nafisa Kaptownwala is the founder of Lorde Inc., the first modeling agency whose entire roster boasts models of color—many of whom were recruited off of Instagram and on the street. Though only launched in 2013, Lorde has already expanded from its London base to Toronto and New York City, knocking at mainstream fashion’s door to remind the industry that a big, wide world of diverse beauty exists out there.
Chris Mosier Sprints Toward Inclusivity
New York City
When Chris Mosier earned a spot on Team USA’s sprint duathlon squad for the 2016 World Championship, he became the first openly transgender athlete to make a U.S. national team aligned with his gender identity. As founder of TransAthlete.com and executive director of GO! Athletes, Mosier consults with sports leagues on trans inclusivity and creates bias response protocols informed in part by his personal experiences with discrimination. This year, Mosier saw another victory with the International Olympic Committee lifting its policy requiring that transgender athletes complete reassignment surgery in order to compete.
Rafael Strasser Brings People to the Table
Rafael Strasser has your dinner plans covered. His initiative, Über den Tellerrand, combats prejudice by integrating migrants into the local communities of 20 German cities through cooking classes, recipe sharing, pop-up restaurants, and more.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Puts Women First
New York City
Before Emma Watson, there was Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The United Nations Under-Secretary- General and Executive Director of UN Women is the mastermind behind the HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to be more proactive in achieving gender equality. Most recently, Mlambo-Ngcuka advocated for climate change solutions in the Paris Agreement that address the disproportionate impact environmental change has on women and girls.
Hari Nef Shatters the Mold
New York City
When Hari Nef signed to IMG Models last May, she became the first transgender model on the top agency’s U.S. roster. Since then, Nef has walked in New York Fashion Week, been featured in Vogue, and visited the White House as part of its Champions of Change event honoring LGBT artists. The Tumblr favorite has also jumped into writing and acting, appearing on the second season of Amazon’s Transparent.
Megan Smith Breaks Glass Ceilings
In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith chief technical officer of the United States, making her the first woman to hold the post. A former Google executive and veteran of Silicon Valley, she helped found the Malala Fund in 2012 specifically for Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s work in girls’ education and empowerment, and serves on the board of Vital Voices, a nonprofit that works with women leaders in economics, politics, and human rights.
Jose Manuel Moller Fills a Forgotten Food Need
Jose Manuel Moller’s company, Algramo, buys essential food goods in bulk to distribute affordably through vending machines on the outskirts of Chilean and Colombian cities, where local stores often charge up to 40 percent more than in central areas. The service is now expanding to Mexico.
Jody Wilson-Raybould Raises Her Voice for the Indigenous
Jody Wilson-Raybould was sworn in as Canada’s minister of justice and attorney general this past November, making her the first indigenous person to hold the office—not to mention the country’s first liberal minister of justice in a decade. One of her first actions in office was to establish a national framework to combat violence against indigenous women.