Vanguard Communications has long been inspired by courageous individuals of all backgrounds who have worked to make our world more equal, inclusive and just.
In our 2021 calendar, we showcased 12 champions of change who fought against injustices of all kinds to advance the rights of people in the United States.
In case you missed one, below is a recap of all the blog posts that highlighted these inspiring people.
We kicked off the new year by remembering former Representative John Lewis. Throughout his life, Lewis exemplified the power of the peaceful protest — or what he called “getting in good trouble.” Neither his protests nor his arrests came to an end once Lewis was elected to Congress. In the last years of his life, Lewis devoted much of his time to the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which, if enacted, would guarantee the right to vote for every U.S. citizen. Learn more about the life and legacy of Lewis.
In February, we spotlighted Frederick Douglass. From a young age, Douglass understood the value of the spoken and written word and its association with freedom — so much so that at an antislavery convention in 1841, he was invited to describe his experiences under slavery. His extemporaneous remarks led to a lecturer position within the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society — and the beginning of Douglass’ legacy as one of the greatest orators of all time. Learn more about the life of Douglass and his many accomplishments.
In March, we showcased the legacy of Ida B. Wells. Throughout her life, Wells worked tirelessly to expose discrimination and violence toward African Americans in the South. After witnessing the political activism of her parents and experiencing her own discrimination, Wells knew that she needed to counter these injustices even in the face of danger. Learn how her investigative reporting uncovered the truth about the discrimination and violence African Americans experienced in the late 19th century.
On March 31, we celebrate the birth and legacy of civil rights and labor movement activist César Chávez. Last year, our calendar celebrated Chávez throughout April. Chávez dedicated his life’s work to improving conditions for farmworkers who kept fresh food on the tables across America but often went hungry themselves, living and laboring in appalling conditions and being paid unlivable wages. Learn why you should celebrate César Chávez Day and more about his remarkable life.
May’s Communicator of the Month is so spectacular, we spotlighted his work in two different calendars! Langston Hughes was one of the most influential Black poets of his time and a literary champion of racial equality. He insisted on using his poetry and other works to illuminate the realities of his own experience. Learn why Hughes chose to celebrate his racial identity throughout his writings.
In June, we spotlighted Sylvia Rivera. As one of the nation’s first transgender advocates, Rivera gave gender nonconforming individuals a voice within the mainstream gay rights movement. She’s being honored for her work with a statue in New York City — one of the world’s first monuments for transgender people. Learn more about how her work fighting for equality and inclusion inspired action and resilience.
In July, we honored poet Emma Lazarus, who embraced and shared her Jewish American heritage openly and used her writing to combat anti-Semitism. But she didn’t stop there. Her most famous piece of writing transcends any one racial or ethnic group, welcoming any and all immigrants to America’s shores. Today, her words live on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. Learn more about Lazarus, her career and how she embraced and shared her Jewish American heritage.
In August, we showcased Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg was a lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in September 2020. She spent much of her legal career as a staunch advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Learn how Ginsburg challenged traditional gender roles, fought for women’s rights and demonstrated perseverance in the face of difficulties throughout her life.
In September, we celebrated the great Odetta Holmes. Holmes was an American folk singer, actress, and civil and human rights activist, often referred to as the “Voice of the Civil Rights Movement.” Holmes said her songs channeled “the fury and frustration that I had growing up” in segregated America. The many benefits she headlined helped underwrite the movement’s work. Learn more about her life, legacy and many accomplishments.
In October, we honored Zitkala-Ša. Throughout her life, Zitkala-Ša had to navigate the two worlds of her Native American heritage and the white-dominant society where she studied, worked and published her writing and music. Today she is remembered for how she honored her culture while advocating for Indigenous people to become voting American citizens. Learn more about her inspiring life and her tireless fight to improve the rights of Native Americans.
In November, we spotlighted Dorothy Height, who is remembered as the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement.” She was a courageous and outspoken civil rights and women’s rights activist who advocated for social issues into her 80s. Height also played a vital role in the 1963 March on Washington, organizing thousands of female volunteers who mobilized a quarter-million people to rally on the National Mall. Learn more about Height’s legacy and work with the National Council of Negro Women.
To round out 12, in December we showcased Patsy Takemoto Mink, who may be best known for her role in co-authoring and advocating for the groundbreaking Title IX Amendment that was passed in 1972. However, Mink broke numerous barriers throughout her career as a lawyer and public servant. She wasn’t afraid to speak openly about the racial and gender discrimination she faced as a woman and as a person of color. Learn more about that lasting impact that Mink had on our country and women’s rights during her time in Congress.
We hope that you enjoyed learning about these inspiring and brave individuals. To learn about additional individuals who have been featured in our previous calendars, be sure to check out our Communicator of the Month series right here on the blog!
This year, our calendar will introduce you to 11 of humanity’s heroes who helped — oftentimes unknowingly — identify, treat, teach others and spread awareness about COVID-19.
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