Troublemaker of 2013 - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
The Troublemaker Award 2013 goes to an imprisoned Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, for her remarkable decision to go on a hunger strike as protest against inhumane, lawless treatment of fellow prisoners. Every year, the Troublemaker Award seeks out one individual, who demonstrates creativity, passion, unconventional thinking, and ability to go above and beyond to bring about positive change. Nadezhda’s willingness to risk her own life to fight brutality, oppression and human rights violations that she has witnessed at Penal Colony No 14 in the Mordovian village of Parts is an inspiring testament of human courage in the face of an abusive system.
Troublemaker of 2012 - Zack Kopplin
The TroubleMaker Award Committee has named 19 year old activist, Zack Kopplin, the TroubleMaker of 2012 for his leadership and advocacy efforts to prevent the spread of creationism in publicly funded education. Zack has been selected among many exceptional applicants who demonstrated creativity, spirit and dedication in working on a broad range of issues, including women’s rights, poverty, bullying, environment and nuclear energy.
Zack’s bold campaign to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) has made waves in state politics and in public education. Kopplin has gathered the support of 78 Nobel Laureate scientists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the New Orleans City Council, and other major organizations. His petition to repeal the law has 74,000 supporters across the US. Working with Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Zack has fought for two bills to repeal the LSEA. He has spoken out before the Louisiana legislature and State Board of Education, debated creationist politicians, held rallies, and had been covered in hundreds of interviews in national and international media. Kopplin is preparing to fight for a third repeal bill.
Zack plans to use the $10,000 awarded to him to increase the impact and reach of his campaign. The funds will greatly aid Zack’s most recent venture to call for accountability on the issue of millions of dollars in school vouchers being spent to fund schools across the US that teach creationist ideas. He also plans to use this money to help build the Second Giant Leap movement, which calls for a permanent end to science denial legislation and for a trillion dollars of new science funding in the next decade.
Kopplin said, “We need a Second Giant Leap for Mankind and we need a student movement of troublemakers and truth-tellers who are willing to stand up and speak out to make this a reality.”