My Five Living Heros
By Michele Agosti
Bryan Stevenson - Author of the book Just Mercy and lawyer at Equal Justice Initiative which works on getting people off of death row. Bryan is one of my heros because he has worked tirelessly to bring attention to the criminal justice system's bias against poor and minorities. He has fought and had sentences and convictions repealed. He has aided in persuading the the Supreme Court to make decisions prohibiting sentencing children under 18 to death or life in prison.
Michelle Obama - wife of former President Obama. Michelle is one of my heroes because as the First Lady she made health and food a priority for children in schools. She also brought a focus of physical movement back in children’s lives. She has worked to help families realize that these changes impact not only our nation's issue with childhood and adult obesity but that this leads to other health issues later in life. Michelle also has been unapologetic and completely honest and open about her life and beliefs and I highly respect that.
Malal Yousafzai - Malal was shot in the face while on a bus because she was an activist for education. She survived the shooting and continued to push for female education. She received the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, the youngest recipient. Originally her activism started with the writing of a blog about her life in Swat under Taliban rule. The Taliban were the ones who shot her in the face in an attempt to assassinate her. She continues her activism today. She continually calls on world leaders to invest in books, not bullets. Malal is my hero because of her strength of conviction even after she has been openly attacked. She could have backed down in fear for her life, but she continues to fight back and not by violence but by encouraging education.
Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the United States House of Representatives since 2019 and previously 2007-2011. She was the first woman to serve as speaker of the House. She spearheaded Obama’s health care law, is a strong supporter of abortion rights, LGBTQ+, and favors more gun laws. Her strength as a woman is the main reason she is my hero. I love that at a White House dinner she was interrupted by a bunch of men and in response said: "Do the women get to talk around here?" She was not interrupted again. She is not afraid to speak up, which is not easy in a political world dominated men.
Dolores McDermott (Maria Adolorata Caramia McDermott) - My grandmother, fondly called Nonna immigrated from Italy in 1946 as the war bride to my grandfather, Pap, Joseph McDermott. She is 96 years old now. Coming to the United States on a boat she didn’t know any English at all. She came to find that her mother-in-law spent all of the money her new husband had sent home from the war, so they had no money. No one spoke Italian and it was bitter cold in Pittsburgh, a stark contrast to the warm weather of southern Italy. Their first Winter in Pittsburgh there were holes in the ceiling and snow would come in through the holes. She had a baby and only 2 dresses to wear. She worked hard and so did my grandfather to save money so that they could have a better life. They both worked their way to finally buying a home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with their family of 4 kids and they lived a comfortable happy life. From moving very far from all of her family and everything she knew to having nothing in a new place to not knowing anyone other than my grandfather, or the language, to living a happy comfortable life and raising a wonderful family. She is my hero for working so hard to support her family and have a good and happy life and always having unconditional love for her children and grandchildren.