Heroes

Emma Goldman

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Emma Goldman (1869–1940) stands as a major figure in the history of American radicalism and feminism. An influential and well-known anarchist of her day, Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence, and union organization. Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919. For the rest of her life until her death in 1940, she continued to participate in the social and political movements of her age, from the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War.
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Rosa Parks

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The legend of Sister Rosas act of courage and dignity is often described simply as moment of defiance in a one-day out of the blue incident. In truth it was an act of preparation. Rosa Parks worked hard at her political consciousness. She registered people to vote, took the stairs at work, rather than ride the Negro Only elevators, and resisted entering the back door of buses as far back as 1943.

“I did not get on the bus to get arrested,” she later said. “I got on the bus to go home.” (…) “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

Jolie Rickman

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Jolie Rickman was a fiercely independent musician with a strong community of support. In recent years she as welcomed into colleges, universities, cafes, clubs, radio stations and stereo systems across the country. In Spring 2000 Jolie released her third full-length cd Suffer To Be Beautiful.Whether she was outside freezing her fingers off in front of a thousand women’s, peace, or union demonstrators; java jivin’ on stage in a cozy café; or busting out powerful originals for a bar full of hipsters who aren’t too hip to sing along; audiences across the Northeast and Midwest have claimed this hard working girl as one of their own.

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Felicia Atsepoyi (Mama Ayo)

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“My name is Felicia Atsepoyi, but you can call me
Mama Ayo. That’s what everyone in my village of Ugborodo calls me. My
village is right across the creek from the ChevronTexaco terminal that
pumps oil deep in Nigeria’s delta. We live in shacks with no
electricity or indoor plumbing, but you should see that company place.
One of my friends said it’s like paradise – everything all clean and
beautiful. Another said, “I saw America there.” That’s because of the
air conditioning and the paved roads, the telephones and fresh salad, a
machine called a microwave and good foam in the beds.

“We were pretty angry when we saw such luxury. For over forty years
ChevronTexaco was growing richer while we were growing poorer. We knew
there was a big difference between the two sides of the creek, but we
didn’t know how much until the day we women crossed to the other side.
For ten days hundreds of women occupied the terminal until the oil
company agreed to provide our village with electricity and water, and
to build schools, a community center, and houses. It also agreed to
increase student scholarships and help us women set up poultry and fish
farms.

“We did in ten days what the men had not done in
years. And do you know what the men say now that we have won? That we
are “big-headed.” The elders are worried that our new assertiveness
will weaken their authority. They’re worried that we will enter their
shrine. Well, who knows? That, too, may be just around the corner. . . “
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Amy Goodman

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Amy Goodman is a left-wing American broadcast journalist and author. She is best known as the host of Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! program. As an investigative journalist, Goodman has aggressively pursued human rights violations in East Timor, Nigeria, and other countries.

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