Here, from my new book, Another Way Forward, are more reasons to hope even in the face of military parades, the disgraceful use of dreamers as political pawns , massive transfers of wealth to the 1%, and looming cuts to Medicare, Social Security and safety net programs. This time the solutions are extraordinary people. All of these are in the book.
An Honor Roll of 10 Local Heroes
- Sanjeev Arora, a UNM gastroenterologist with a simple, disruptive, technological innovation to bring specialty care to rural patients with chronic diseases. He wants to touch a billion lives around the world by 2020, with his Project Echo.
- Ona Porter, of Prosperity Works, who is helping low-income people build on assets they have to enter the middle class and bring their children with them.
- Alan Marks, a radical high school teacher, who has mentored over a hundred low-income students over the years and gotten them into colleges like Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Occidental and Pomona.
- Debbie O’Malley, who helped organize her neighborhood in the Sawmill District of Albuquerque to clean up a toxic brownfield and pioneer a new type of affordable housing—an urban land trust.
- Bob DeFelice, the CEO of First Choice Community Healthcare, who has a vision of a wellness ecosystem that is not just a clinic but a holistic means of addressing the reasons behind poor health in a low-income community.
- Susan Matteucci, whose small factory on 4th St. in Albuquerque supports a group of Spanish speaking women with on-site daycare and family support services. Now a thriving social enterprise, Southwest Creations Collaborative is based on the idea that, above all, low-income women will invest in their children.
- Andres Mercado, a Santa Fe Fire Fighter who is the driving force behind that city’s Mobile Integrated Health Office, is bringing together community resources and revolutionizing what it means to be an EMT.
- Charlie Alfero, of Silver City, established a medical home at Hidalgo Medical Services, began using community health workers to serve rural patients and is now bringing health care providers to the area with a new model of medical education.
- Cliff Crawford, a UNM biologist who before his death began an innovative project to get students of all ages collecting real data from the middle Rio Grande bosque.
- Sayrah Namaste, of the American Friends Service Committee, who is training young farmers around the state to enable them to stay on the land and develop sustainable business models.
…And there are many others out there. If you are one of them, perhaps it is time to tell your story, find allies, mentor others and make a bigger difference in these dangerous times. Margaret Mead was right. Never doubt that one person can make a difference.