Launches the Changemakers Network

January 19, 2010



January 11 – January 17 Launches the Changemakers Network

Hey Jacki M,

What do U.S. Senator John Kerry, Actress and Activist Mia Farrow, Hip Hop Entrepreneur Russell Simmons and Attorney and Environmental Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have in common?
They’re all members of’s Changemakers network, an exciting new initiative bringing together prominent activists, elected officials, nonprofit leaders, academics, and artists with a demonstrated ability to create change in the most important issues we face.

More than 100,000 members voted to help select our first round of Changemakers. Now that they’ve been chosen, these Changemakers will be writing periodically on about their work, helping to advance public dialogue on major issues and mobilizing the community to get involved and take action.

A number of Changemakers have already started engaging the community. Changemaker Ruth Messinger, the President of American Jewish World Service, writes this week about her organization’s work in Haiti. Unprecedented efforts are taking shape around the globe to aid survivors of Tuesday’s catastrophic earthquake, and you can view a list of leading aid organizations to support here.

This week we also had Emmy and Golden Globe Nominee Fran Drescher writing on how we all must work together to prevent cancer, and U.S. Congressman George Miller writing about how we must tear down a politics of cynicism, and build a politics that strengthens the middle class.

There’s plenty more, too. From Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, to U.S. Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis, to Author and Chef Alice Waters, to National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguía, – this powerful group of leaders will be reporting on the work they are doing to advance lasting change and enlisting the community’s support to help make a difference.

You can view our full list of Changemakers here.
To get things rolling, we recently interviewed more than a dozen Changemakers, asking what drives them and what they hope to accomplish while working with the community. Check out a sampling of their responses below.

Jim Wallis, Theologian, Bestselling Author and President and CEO of Sojourners
Jim Wallis says his goal is to encourage individuals to put their faith into action for social justice. All of our faith traditions evaluate the integrity of a society by how we treat the most vulnerable, and if all of us put our deepest beliefs into everyday operation, our world would change. (Read more)

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund
Every week, firearms kill more than 60 children and teenagers, and firearms kill more preschoolers annually than the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Marian Wright Edelman says these statistics should be a wake up call that for America’s kids, there is no hiding place from the brutality of gun violence. (Read more)

Doug Ulman, President and CEO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation
In 2010, twelve million people will be diagnosed with cancer, which is expected to become the leading cause of death worldwide. But Doug Ulman says there’s reason for hope. More people are quitting smoking and eating well-balanced diets than ever before, and more advocates are fighting to make cancer a global priority. (Read more)

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Randi Weingarten believes that the American Dream is a false promise absent a solid education system for America’s students and a living wage for America’s workers. How do we achieve these? By creating an environment in both our schools and our work force that is a race to the top. (Read more)

Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG
When families don’t accept their LGBT children or loved ones, the pain can be immeasurable. For this reason, Jody Huckaby writes that family acceptance is the key to LGBT equality. By changing hearts and minds in our own families first, we transform the world around us, giving equality a chance to take root and grow. (Read more)

Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
Nancy Keenan won’t stop until reproductive health care is equally available to all women. But that won’t happen without a fight. Keenan sees young Americans, and the talents and passion they bring to organizing, as key to making sure women’s freedom and privacy are protected far into the future. (Read more)

George Miller, United States Congressman
Politics without cynicism. In the eyes of U.S. Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, politics can and should be about making a difference in people’s lives. That happens first and foremost by rebuilding and strengthening America’s middle class, and ensuring that the interests of students, workers, families and retirees are at the heart of our nation’s priorities. (Read more)

Harris Wofford, Former U.S. Senator and CEO of the Corporation for National Service
Harris Wofford has spent a lifetime serving the common good. So what are his biggest priorities right now? One is advancing a dramatic expansion of international volunteering and service among Americans, which he argues can make a vital and peaceful contribution to world security. A first step would be doubling the size of the Peace Corps, but that’s just the beginning. (Read more)

Fran Drescher, Cancer survivor and two-time Emmy and Golden Globe Nominee
Fran Drescher says we all have the power to fight cancer. The first step? Arming every person with the information they need to prevent the disease and detect it early, when it’s most curable. With the knowledge and screening tools available to us, we should be diagnosing many types of cancer much earlier than we currently are. (Read more)

Ethan Nadelmann, Founder and Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance
The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but almost 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Why? As Ethan Nadelmann describes, it’s because of a senseless war on drugs that values incarceration over compassion and punishment over sound science. (Read more)

Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
Kate Kendell has a task for you: go find three friends or family members, and tell them why full justice and equality for LGBT people is important to you. That might seem like a small step, but conversations like these are the key to eliminating bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and achieving full LGBT equality in all of our lifetimes. (Read more)

To view all of our current Changemakers, click here. And to support the relief efforts in Haiti, don’t forget to check out our list of leading aid organizations working on the relief effort. Every bit counts.
– The Team

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