Sarah Silverman is a Jewish American comedienne, actress, and writer known for her Comedy Central show that aired from 2007-2010. Her comedy often addresses social taboos such as racism, sexism, and religion. She gave her first standup performance at age 17 and spent a year writing for SNL (93-94). She has appeared in supporting roles in numerous movies and tv shows, and her film Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic—based on her act by the same name—was released in 2005. Ms. Silverman’s content is often controversial, but she argues her comedy is mocking bigotry through irony.
Kate Rigg is a Canadian American (of Asian heritage) actress & comedienne. She started acting on Canadian tv as a teen, studied acting in Melbourne Australia, and graduated from Julliard receiving the Interarts award for inter-disciplinary work. Her comedy uses edgy sociopolitical commentary, Asian American themed jokes, and dirty girl talk. Her famous standup shows include m/Other/land, Kate’s Chink-O-Rama, and Birth of a nASIAN. Ms. Rigg is also lead singer for the band Slanty Eyed Mama.
Mazie Hirono is a Japanese American Democratic politician serving as US Representative from Hawaii since 2007. From 1980-1994, she served in the Hawaii State House. From 1994-2002, she served as Lieutenant Governor; among her accomplishments was spearheading the first universal pre-school program in the US. In 2002, she ran for Hawaii Governor and lost the historic race (two women running) to Linda Lingle. In 2007, Ms. Hirono became the first Buddhist member in the US Congress. She is now running for Senate against Linda Lingle.
Linda Lingle is a Jewish American Republican politician who served as Governor of Hawaii from 2002-2010. Getting her start in county politics, she served as Maui County Mayor from 1991-1998. After losing a governor’s race in 1998, she served as Hawaii Republican Party Chair from 1999-2002. Throughout her career she has focused on performance based budget cuts and bringing new (younger) life to the Hawaii Republican Party; she is a pro-choice Republican. In 2008, Ms. Lingle spoke at the Republican National Convention introducing Sarah Palin as Vice President. Ms. Lingle is now running for US Senate against Democrat Mazie Hirono.
Urvashi Vaid is an Indian American GLBT activist. In 1983, while a law student at Northeastern University, she founded the Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance. From 1989-1992, she served as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force where she pushed gay issues into the public eye through media campaigns & protests. In 1997, she published Virtual Equality, a book about mainstreaming gay rights, and in 2011, she co-authored an It Gets Better book with Dan Savage & Terry Miller.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is an American (Filipina & Malayali Indian) poet known for her jovial style. She has published three collections of poetry; her first titled Miracle Fruit (2003) won the Global Filipino Literary Award in Poetry. In 2009, Ms. Nezhukumatathil received a poetry fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) was a Jewish American poet and activist known for her work on feminism, social justice, and Judaism. She wrote The Book of the Dead (1938) about the Hawk’s Nest incident. Her poem To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century (1944) was selected to appear in Reform & Reconstructionist prayer books. In the 60s & 70s, she was active in the feminist movement, anti (Vietnam) war movement, and participated in a war tax protest. In 1965, she wrote a fictional memoir titled The Orgy.