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We are excited to announce the second round of winners of the 2020 Tzedek Impact Awards.
Throughout Asheville, activists, advocates, artists, teachers, and organizers are making change. Here are some of the impacts made by these powerful people.
Anne Wainer has worked with various Jewish and secular non-profit organizations including the JCC and Jewish Family Services of WNC, helping others heal and overcome personal trauma and injustices. She worked directly with Holocaust survivors and their families through counseling, securing funding and services, and researching epigenetic stressors related to the Holocaust in order to better understand the impact of the Holocaust on 2nd and 3rd generation survivors.
For close to a decade, Cortina Jenelle Caldwell has designed and facilitated trainings, workshops, programs, and events centered on authenticity, community building, creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership for Caldwell Community College, Me2We Summit, HandMade in America, Asheville Area Arts Council, Western Women’s Business Center, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Appalachian Funder’s Network, WNC Nonprofit Pathways, Appalachian Enterprise Center and more. As founder of the Adé Project, Cortina has built capacity, opportunity, and community with Black, indigenous, people of color (BiPOC) while preserving culture.
Adrian Parra began volunteering with Youth Outright in 2017 and eventually transitioned to executive leadership. As ED, Adrian has worked to empower LGBTQIA+ youth by cultivating a culture of consent, equity and compassion, facilitating intergenerational dialogue, developing life skills, creating space for self-expression, and promoting self-care and wellness.
As an instructor of traditional folkloric dance and Latin American arts and culture through the Raíces program at Nuestro Centro, Geny Hernández López has ensured that language, culture, and traditions are transmitted, laying the foundation for the community and building an intergenerational and transnational bridge of culture and identity. Geny has helped other migrants build resilience and heal in community through immigrant rights organizing.
Itiyopiya Ewart has helped transform Asheville City Schools’ achievement gap. Itiyopiya co-organized a symposium bringing together local education scholars who presented practical solutions to interrupting systematic injustice within Asheville City Schools. As an educator and advocate, she has helped others deepen their understanding of white supremacy and their role in replicating systems of harm for people of color.
Kathey Avery, founder and owner of Avery Health – Education and Consulting, has brought a racial equity lens to her work in healthcare for 35 years. She has raised awareness about, and helped in the prevention of, chronic diseases and preventable cancers through patient and public education and personal accountability. She was given the prestigious Martin Luther King Award by Mission Health in 2011, the Unsung Heroes award in 2016, and the Lillian Carter Award for Exemplary Nursing from Modern Healthcare Magazine in 2017.
As a student organizer, Liyah Foye collaborated with UNCA’s Hillel, the Black Student Association, and Student Government Association, the Center of Diversity Education, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to promote Black and Jewish justice. As a writer, Liyah has explored religion and racial/cultural identity and how religion can be a tool for social justice.
Keith Young was a founding member of the community organizing group Hoodtalk. In their first year, Hoodtalk visited every historically African-American neighborhood and public housing development, discussing everything from police brutality, politics, voting, the school to prison pipeline, and even the quality of school lunches. These conversations were a catalyst for dialogue and activating collective action.
Delia Noemi Jovel Dubón has supported and developed initiatives aimed at promoting education, participation, organizing and advocacy on behalf of members of the Latinx community as an instructor for the GED program in Spanish, an activist, and a facilitator of services. As one of the founders of Henderson Resiste, a community-based group that works and organizes in times of crisis to support the Latinx community, Delia has aided families who face vulnerability, discrimination, inequity, and threat.
Whether working with the 12 Baskets Cafe, Just Economics, Asheville Transit Committee, Beloved Asheville, Southside Rising, Green Opportunities, or Carolina Jews for Justice, Maggie Belle Gladden “Queen Mother” has worked for the greater good. Her many years of community work demonstrate a lifetime of looking for ways to support a thriving community.
In her collaborations with countless community organizations, Melissa Henry has contributed her gifts as a vocalist, producer, artist, educator and writer to make change happen. Whether onstage or in small group conversations, Melissa has used prose and song to reclaim narratives. She brought her unique ‘Acapella Storytelling’ into the schools, first during In Real Life sessions at Asheville Middle School, then through special school events.
With attention to racial justice, mental health, and recovery, Philip Cooper has created and facilitated reentry programs and education for employers to support those coming home from prison. Phillip has advocated for providing culturally competent mental health care services and has collaborated with Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective and ABIPA.
As a community liaison for Asheville’s Racial Justice Coalition, Rob Thomas has been a leader supporting the Asheville community through COVID. Through the creation of the RJC Advocacy Team, Rob mobilized community members to advocate for addressing rental assistance, among other critical needs. Rob has also served as a leader in finding transformative responses to police violence in Asheville and was a leader in organizing collective action as a part of the national response to George Floyd’s murder.
Shauntey Jives has brought her experience as a social worker and as a cheerleader to her work at EOY (Empowering Our Youth). Through this effort, Shauntey has provided youth with skill building opportunities, positive social interaction, team building activities, and leadership development designed to enhance their abilities to make positive decisions, complete challenges, and accomplish tasks.
Since he was 15 years old, Tyshaun Johnson has worked for community change in Asheville. First through Youth Empowered Solutions and then in partnership with UNCA, Tyshaun has collaborated to create convenings, campaigns, and to help youth learn about local government and advocacy. Tyshaun has also served as a member of the Health Equity Coalition.