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Heroes You Should Know:

Frances Perkins was the first woman named to the United States Presidential Cabinet, and as Secretary of Labor for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s entire term was arguably the conscience of the New Deal Era. A social reformer, the trajectory of her life was forever altered by personally witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the deadliest industrial accident in the history of New York City where 146 garment workers perished---many because managers had locked the doors to the exits and stairwells to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks.

Heroes You Should Know: Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, the son of a diplomat, was commissioned as an officer in the English Navy in 1945.  But despite his early success, he was not satisfied.  He left the military, and studied philosophy at the Catholic Institute in Paris.  After earning his doctorate, Vanier considered a vocation as a college professor, but again he heard the still small voice calling him to something else.  

Heroes You Should Know: Iqbal Masih

Iqbal Masih’s family borrowed the equivalent of $12 U.S. dollars from a local merchant to pay for a wedding.  They offered Iqbal as collateral.  And when the family could not repay the loan, the four year-old Iqbal was handed over to the business owner as a laborer until the debt was paid off.  A story from the dark ages?  Try 1987. Six days a week Iqbal would rise before dawn and weave for up to 14 hours with other children at the factory, all of them chained to their machines to prevent escape. 

Fair is Fair: The Virtue of Justice

The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice. -Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Heroes You Should Know: Jerome Lejeune

Jerome Lejeune was a French pediatrician and geneticist, renowned in the field of medicine for discovering

Heroes You Should Know: Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix was an American activist who overcame an alcoholic family of origin, an abusive father, and chronically poor health to become a crusader for the mentally ill. 

Heroes You Should Know: Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali was an international cycling star who won the Tour De France twice.  But what he did on and with his bike, was about so much more than athleticism. 

Heroes You Should Know: The Four Chaplains of the U.S.S. Dorchester

Clark Poling (a Dutch Reformed minister), George Fox (a Methodist minister), Alexander Goode (a Jewish rabbi), and John Washington (a Catholic priest) became fast friends in 1942 while attending a training school for Chaplains at Harvard College.  In January 1943 all four men embarked for England together on the Dorchester, a converted transport ship carrying 900 sailors.  

Heroes You Should Know: Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler was a social worker, and personally responsible for saving 2,500 Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Poland.   

Heroes You Should Know: Liviu Lebrescu

Liviu Librescu had faced death many times before his final hour of life on the campus of Virginia Tech University.  He had survived the Nazis, the Holocaust, and relocation to a labor camp.  And he had endured over thirty years of Communist oppression in his native Romania.  In between, he’d earned a Ph.D., and become a scientist and research professor. 

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