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Monica Simpson

Activist

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Activism is in Monica Simpson's blood. "It doesn't matter what cause I am fighting for. I see injustice somewhere in the world I feel it is my duty as a human being to fight against it."

Simpson's activism started while she was a student at Johnson C. Smith University. "When I came first came out, it was very difficult. I saw my friends being hassled and I didn't like it, so we organized the first gay support group on Johnson C. Smith's campus. It was then I realized if you believed in something enough, you can change things for the better."

Charlotte Black Gay Pride Celebration is another first for Simpson. "When we came up with the idea for a black gay pride festival, it felt like we were saying, 'Yes we are here and we are proud.' We have shows, expos lectures and a Sunday morning service. We wanted people to know that you don't have to hide who you are."

Her work with Grassroots Leadership seeks to mobilize people in communities to stop the building of privately run prisons. "When these companies offer to lease these prisons to the government, the focus is no longer on rehabilitation. It isn't about equipping people to leave prison system and be able to function in society. The focus becomes about a revolving door and keeping beds full, and building more prisons."

"The work I do is important. It is my personal belief that we all have a purpose, and whether we are gay or straight, conservative or liberal -- we all have a duty to make this world better. I am just trying to do my part."

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