GOOD
Issue 36: The 2016 GOOD 100

Meet the 2016 GOOD 100

Introducing the 2016 GOOD 100, our annual list of 100 extraordinary individuals tackling global issues in creative ways.

Introducing the 2016 GOOD 100, our annual list of 100 extraordinary individuals tackling global issues in creative ways.

HEALTH

A healthy life should be a universal right no matter geographic or economic circumstance. These individuals are making it easier for people to thrive, not just survive.

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Picking the Wrong Fight

“Fighting for women’s rights means knowing where the fight should be fought.”

Human hair—those strands of compressed dead keratin protein emerging from the scalp to be painstakingly styled, colored, and cut—has long served as a medium for expression of gender, race, and economic class. In particular, women’s hair has always been highly politicized, where the boundaries of hair-related behavior are driven by social norms and expectations. But as a U.S.-born Muslim American woman, I quickly learned that the statement that causes the most consternation is when a woman’s hair is covered as an expression of religious intent.

When I decided to start wearing hijab, the combination of modest clothing and a headscarf, I understood that my simple act of religious piety would turn into an invitation for dialogue and debate within my personal circle of friends. I accepted the challenges that I would have to face in public spaces unfamiliar with Islam, and in a competitive job market where laws don’t manage to stop employers from discrimination. What I didn’t expect, however, was the recent emergence of a global debate, and in some cases hate-filled hysteria, challenging the very notion that Muslim women choosing to cover their hair could be anything other than a finger in the eye of modern feminism and an archaic throwback to a bygone era of medieval oppression.

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Deconstructing the Refugee Narrative

Two activists and long-time friends discuss the realities of the crisis in Syria.

Lina Sergie Attar is a Syrian writer, aid worker, and architect based in Illinois. She started Karam Foundation in 2007 to aid displaced Syrians in need, offering everything from food and healthcare to education and leadership courses. At two of Karam’s schools in Reyhanli, Turkey, just over the Syrian border, Attar hosts Zeitouna, an annual creative therapy and wellness program designed for Syrian children that uses art and self-expression to counter the impact of trauma.

One of the program’s mentors is American artist and writer Molly Crabapple, who in recent years has aimed her ink pens at political and cultural upheaval. Reporting from the Bab al-Salam refugee camp in northern Syria, the rubble of Gaza’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood, and Eric Garner’s memorial in Staten Island, she uses frantic lines, color splotching, and vignetted frames to turn intimate moments of struggle into surreal graphic vérité. Her recent memoir, Drawing Blood, chronicles her journey from struggling art student in New York to renegade activist journalist.

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Building the New World

Black Lives Matter’s Patrisse Cullors on her personal sacrifices for activism and motherhood

As one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter, I’ve always given up parts of myself for this movement. For the past 15 years, the work has been my primary partner, often at the sacrifice of my emotional, physical, and spiritual safety. I have been challenged by hateful verbal attacks, the consistent killings of black children, and the never-ending feeling that there is always more work to be done. I’ve compromised my health, and sometimes my morals, for the ultimate goal of manifesting black liberation. We have a chant that we use at protests, before meetings, and when speaking to large audiences—one that was gifted to us by our revolutionary sister Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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Sun Mu

The North Korean defector’s art is hardly an exaggeration of his dystopian homeland.

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the art of Sun Mu for North Korean propaganda. In one piece, Kim Jong-il is rendered in bright red, his face twisted into a toothy, grotesque smile. But upon closer inspection, Kim’s glasses reflect an execution scene—a military man’s gun raised in the direction of a female worker in the fields—and in his hand, the late dictator menacingly wields a knife.

The resemblance to the military posters that paper North Korean streets is no accident—trained as a propaganda artist for the Kim regime, Sun Mu used to make those posters. He escaped in 1998, fleeing a devastating famine that killed an estimated 330,000 people, seeking refuge in South Korea. There, the artist began painting once again, except now using his talents to forge blistering critiques of the regime for which he once worked.

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Marije Vogelzang

Meet the artist upending the way we interact with and think about our food.

Artist Marije Vogelzang has been working with food for more than a decade, but she still finds the subject to be exhaustingly complex. “I don’t think anybody really understands the whole food system,” she concedes. A self-described “eating designer” and teaching artist, Vogelzang combines design with the eating experience in an effort to rewire the way we think about our meals. Through her eponymous studio, two lab-slash-restaurants, a coffee table book, and an eating design department she recently founded at the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Vogelzang addresses the politics and experience of food for an audience that has grown to appreciate her sensitive, circuitous approach. “When I started,” she says, “everyone was thinking it was about creating beautiful food. ... Now they understand it can be more.”

Recently, she designed a collection of “plant bones,” imagining the shapes vegetable skeletons might take. Her latest project involves partnering with a chicken farmer in the Netherlands who earns his living in a way that Vogelzang finds emblematic of the global food chain’s more incongruous qualities.

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