Ashoka Fellow Raj Jayadev was just named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow for exceptional creativity. Raj is the creator and champion of participatory defense, a growing movement that gives families and friends of accused persons a way to contribute to the defense of their loved one.
Christina Thomas Dhanaraj is part of a community of Indian activists who are speaking truth to power against caste-based violence and discrimination. Many of these voices have stormed the bastions of establishment media and are engaged in asking critical questions about the pervasiveness of casteism in all aspects of life.
“Don’t ask any questions. You’ll be shot dead.” This is a common refrain in Manipur state in India, where Ashoka Fellow Binalakshmi (Bina) Nepram grew up. Yet Bina asked questions. And despite currently living in exile, she continues to ask with conviction.
When we say these emerging leaders mine their personal experiences, we mean they tap into their own history and context to uncover discrete issues that cause inequity and structural disparity. Ashoka Fellow T. Morgan Dixon and co-founder Vanessa Garrison mined their personal experiences to focus on stressors and traumas threatening the health of black women with their organization GirlTrek.