ARTHUR SMILIOS – is an unapologetic anti-capitalist, musician rabble rouser. Arthur was the co-founder of the seminal New York punk band the Gorilla Biscuits. Since his days of performing “Cats & Dogs” (a song that encouraged thousands to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle) Arthur has strived to braid his art with his passion for social justice.
BINA AHMAD – is an attorney, human rights and animal rights social justice activist. She is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and an Ahmadi Muslim, a heavily persecuted sect in Islam. She has worked on social justice issues her entire life, and worked with organizations such as Human Rights Watch, the New York branch of the ACLU, Al-Haq (the oldest Palestinian Human Rights NGO based in Ramallah, West Bank), and PETA. She strives to make the connection between human and animal oppression, and hopes you will join her in the struggle.
CALLA WRIGHT – was born into an apolitical family, and quickly rebelled. A vegetarian by the age of four (now vegan) and social justice activist by high school, she has a particular interest in animal rights, feminism, and sexual freedom. She holds an MS from Milano, the New School for Management and Urban Policy. She is currently the Campaigns Coordinator for Farm Sanctuary.
CASSI AMANDA GIBSON – is a writer and photojournalist from New York. Born in Mozambique and raised in Uganda Cassi spent her teenage years in the US where she quickly became involved in the New York all ages music scene. Cassi has helped facilitate Sparrow Media’s Skate & Solidarity campaign and since 2009 has made numerous trips to Uganda with donated skateboards, supplies, and to document the efforts.
GRACY OBUCHOWICZ – is a professional photographer and freelance writer who has spent the past five years working and traveling in Peru. In 2005, she assisted journalism colleague, Rebecca Rivas, with her Fulbright-funded documentary by photographing Peruvian women during pregnancy in Cusco, Peru. Gracy returned to Peru to serve as the photographer and a field producer for “Spirit Songs,” a documentary about the songs and medicines of the indigenous healers in Madre de Dios and Loreto, Peru. Gracy earned her degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and currently runs her own portrait photography business in Washington, DC. In addition to Rimaniku, Gracy created and writes for The Lover’s Manifesto and The Menagerie.
Sparrow is excited to welcome MALIK UHMARI to their family of blog contributors. Malik’s handwritten essays from his prison cell offered a unique perspective that each of us can gain so much from. Malik is a father, friend and a comrade to those to who resist oppression and fight for change. Malik is a student of character, a student of discipline, a student of principle, a student of struggle, a student of liberation, and a student of independence.
MOE MITCHELL – is a lobbyist and community organizer with the New York Civic Engagement Table. When Moe is not at his day job, he expresses his political action through song as the front man for the New York Hardcore band Cipher. Moe is a tireless social justice activist, a vegan, a poet, and a unbridled voice for the voiceless.
NICOLAS LACCETTI – is a social justice activist who focuses on animal rights, feminism, sexuality and gender issues, and progressive religion. He studied religion at The New School and has an MA in late antique and early medieval religion from Fordham. He is currently an intern for Our Hen House (http://www.ourhenhouse.org), a multimedia hive of ideas to help create change for animals.
ANDY STEPANIAN – is the co-founder of The Sparrow Project and a defendant in the SHAC7 political trial. In 2002 The Financial Times characterized SHAC as “succeeding where Karl Marx, the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Red Brigades failed.” SHAC’s protest actions drew the attention of Wall Street and the FBI culminating in a politically charged landmark free speech case. Andy and 5 others were charged and convicted as terrorists for their activism. Sentenced to 3 years in prison Andy spent his last 6.5 months in a secretive federal prison program that NPR would later nickname ‘Guantanamo North’. Andy’s activism as part of the SHAC7 is the subject of a feature-length documentary due out in 2012 from Finngate Pictures. Since his release from prison Andy works for a publisher, consults for social justice groups, and speaks on his experiences at universities.