WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US: COMMUNITY HEROS TO GLOBAL ACTIVISTS

 

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day of recognition (and in many countries, an official holiday) that seeks to draw attention to and celebrate the strides that women have made. Events are held around the world to acknowledge the strength and integrity of women in society as a whole, in the family, and in the workplace. The day recognizes both the advances women have made as a gender, but also the accomplishments of individuals who have dedicated their lives to working towards causes they believe in. 

In honor of this day and of Women’s History Month, here are three women who have inspired us over the years, and who continue to inspire us through their outstanding work, be it global activism or action that works towards the betterment of a very specific community. 

PRINCIPAL NADIA LOPEZ

Principal, Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Vidal, student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.

Vidal, student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.

We heard about the incredible work that Lopez does through a post by the Humans of New York Facebook page, in which a student was asked who in his life influenced him the most. This is what he said:

Lopez, principal of a middle school in the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in New York City, recently led a fundraising campaign (with the help of Humans of New York) to fund school trips to Harvard University as well as several years of a summer program for Mott Hall Bridges Academy scholarsHer goal is to take the school’s incoming 6th grade class to Harvard every year to show them that they have limitless potential, and she will begin the summer program so that they can have a safe place to go during the summer where they can continue learning. 

Lopez is an awe-inspiring example of the effect that one person can have on her community. Through the work that she does in addition to her job, she is changing the lives of the children that attend her school and providing them a safe, supportive environment to thrive in. The way we see it, she is, in a very real way, changing the world one student at a time. 

Lopez is an awe-inspiring example of the effect that one person can have on her community. Through the work that she does in addition to her job, she is changing the lives of the children that attend her school and providing them a safe, supportive environment to thrive in. The way we see it, she is, in a very real way, changing the world one student at a time. 

Nadia Lopez, principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Nadia Lopez, principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy


DEB ESCHMEYER

Executive Director of Let’s Move! 

The White House recently named Deb Eschmeyer executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative as well as senior adviser for nutrition policy. Prior to stepping into her new role, Eschmeyer co-founded FoodCorps, a nationwide program that places service members into limited-resource schools to increase access to and knowledge of wholesome, healthy food. 

What inspires us about Eschmeyer is her incredible ability to pull people together to work toward a common goal. The work that she does requires immense support from grassroots efforts as well as cooperation from large, bureaucratic systems that can feel impossible to navigate. But she does work with both of these very different groups; she does it well, and she does it with seemingly unflappable motivation that we can’t help but admire. 


JANE GOODALL

Conservationist, primatologist, and UN Messenger of Peace

Sarah, our content strategist, recently had the honor of seeing Jane Goodall speak on two occasions: at a fundraising gala at which the UN Messenger of Peace was honored, and at Zoo Atlanta, where she gave a talk about the conservation and animal welfare work that she has dedicated her life to. What struck Sarah most about Goodall is that even though she had given her life to the causes that she believed in, even though she had defied all odds of her upbringing and the times in which she began her career, even though she had personally been responsible for so much positive change, Goodall showed no sign of being satisfied by the progress she helped bring about. She seemed driven to continue working until there was no more progress to be made. 

Even at age 80, with such an accomplished career, Goodall seemed unsatisfied. That is not to say that she seems unfulfilled, but to say that she is as driven as ever to continue working tirelessly towards creating a world that is safe, supportive, and fair for all living things. And it is that drive, as well as the grace and authenticity with which she presents herself, that inspires us most about her. 

Posted on March 8, 2015 and filed under Inspiration.