Every February TheGrio looks at the men and women who are making a difference in black communities and across the nation. In particular, the members of theGrio’s 100 who were chosen for their dedication to service and activism are shining examples:
Joshua Williams, pint-sized philanthropist shares big heart
At the age of 5, philanthropist Joshua Williams decided to stomp out hunger in the Miami region — “so that all children would be as full as I am.” Since launching the Joshua’s Heart Foundation, this young heart’s mission has fed more than 7,000 people, raised more than $80,000, and distributed more than 250,000 pounds of food – all before its founder turned 10.
Christina Oliver, translating as part of a rare team in Afghanistan
Before 25-year-old Cpl. Christina Oliver and 39 other female Marines were deployed to interview rural Afghan women last year, the U.S. military had no point of access to the female half of the population, a critical source for strategic information, but forbidden from interacting with male soldiers. While Oliver and her cohorts secure otherwise inaccessible, life-saving input from interviewees.
La’Shanda Holmes, first black female Coast Guard helicopter pilot soars above stereotypes
Lt. JG La’Shanda Holmes’ claim that she “didn’t grow up with a silver spoon” is an incredible understatement. Raised in foster care with more than 12 siblings after her mother’s suicide, the ambitious aviator is rising above all expectations as the pilot of a C-130 Hercules, making Holmes the first black female helicopter pilot in U.S. Coast Guard history.
Decker Ngongang, mobilizing Millennials to change America
In the age of the Internet, “Millennials” have an increased access to political power — they just need a little help speaking out on their issues. At activist website Mobilize.org, Decker Ngongang develops programs like Democracy 2.0 that provide budding activists a forum to develop Millennial-led solutions for topics ranging from financial literacy to aiding the environment – effectively preparing them to civically engage in their own communities.