The website, founded by Rattray and a former dormmate, Mark Dimas ’02, facilitates the creation of online social petitions to address specific instances of social inequity. Petitions support a host of different causes, including gay rights, the environment, economic and criminal justice, education and immigration. Nearly 15,000 petitions are started each month on the site — a number that continues to grow.
For a farm boy from southeast Kentucky, the odds of dining with Bill Clinton are about as good as the chances of feasting with Kim Jong-Il. But in the summer of 2009, David Straub, director of the Korean Studies Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), did both as part of a small delegation sent to secure the release of two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were held in North Korea for allegedly entering the country illegally.
As a winner of the 2011 National Humanities Medal presented by President Obama, Saldívar belongs to a distinguished group that includes writers such as Toni Morrison, John Updike and Elie Wiesel.