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James, 21


James, California

James was a victim of abuse throughout his childhood, which led to drug problems and gang involvement. By the time he was 17 James was facing a possible prison sentence of 30 years and had few advocates or allies. As James puts it, it was the action of one person that changed him forever. This individual was the founder of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

James says this is the reason he has dedicated his life to being there for those who have no one. James left his gang and became a positive role model for his peers while he was still in prison.  Through his work with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, he now offers support  to youth who lack role models or advocates. He has spoken at multiple conferences around the country, discussing safety and health in those communities. James has helped raise $400,000, enabling the Coalition to now serve 120 members. He hopes to help expand the work of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition throughout the state of California and into other states. According to James, “I realized how important it is for us as human beings to know someone is there for us.”

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2015 peace first prize winners


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Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.


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Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.


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After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.


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2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.