Giraffe Heroes Database
Letter "B"
Entries beginning with "B"

Baez, Joan

Joan Baez, the '60's "Queen of Folk," spoke out for civil rights and peace when it was safer not to do so. She continues to use her voice to heal lives and awaken compassion.
  • civil liberties
  • ethnicity/minorities
  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Baird, Bill

Bill Baird worked for decades on behalf of women’s reproductive rights. Lecturing on birth control, distributing contraceptives to the poor, and opening the first reproductive counseling clinics brought Baird threats, fire-bombs, pickets, bullets, jail time, and the profound gratitude of thousands of women.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): National
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Bajek, Bob

Reporter Bob Bajek has been trying to alert the people of Rantoul IL about the toxic contaminaton of their water and air, but his discoveries have led not to a clean-up but a cover-up. And to his being fired from his newspaper job. Despite being labeled "just a troublemaker,” Bajek has kept on sounding the alarm about the serious dangers he found to public health and safety.

  • environment
  • whistle blowers
Giraffe work location(s): North America, U.S., Illinois
Home when commended: North America, U.S., Illinois
Home now: North America, U.S., Illinois
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Baker, Jim

Jim Baker of Carmel NY, and his neighbor, Bill Cahill, were personally slapped with a $64 million suit for conspiracy when they led a citizens' group trying to stop a developer from building 2,000 houses in their small town. Baker and Cahill, who used their own funds to fight the suit, lost their appeal. But reform candidates galvanized by the controversy won control of town government, and the developer made substantial changes and reductions.

  • community development
  • environment
  • government
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Bakker, Cathleen

Cathleen Bakker of Everett WA was one of a group of high school students who wrote and put on a play in response to the deaths of two popular classmates. They were met with resistance from their teacher, the administration, and their friends, but these teens persisted. The play was a critical success—but more important to these young performers—the play helped their peers and the entire community deal with their shock and grief.
(See also Grant Pavolka, Shelley Honingbaum, Kristin Kusnic, Julia Endicott, Bridgette MacAfee and Billy Giese.)

  • arts
  • civil liberties
  • education
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington
Home now: North America, US, Washington
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Balcacer, Ada

Ada Balcacer of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a renowned artist, mobilized the poorest women in her country into crafts collectives, providing them with income and self-respect. She raised funds, developed markets and worked one-on-one with the members of the group to develop their skills.

  • civil liberties
  • community development
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, Dominican Republic
Home when commended: North America, Dominican Republic
Home now: North America, Dominican Republic
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Balikungeri, Mary

When her home country, Rwanda, became embroiled in a violent civil war, Mary Balikungeri was living safely in Switzerland with her two young daughters. She was drawn home by reports of terrorized widows and newly orphaned children. There were bodies on the streets when she arrived and began rescue efforts that soon included health care, education, job training, and advocacy to end gender-based violence.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • public safety
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): Rwanda
Home when commended: Rwanda
Home now: Rwanda
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Balliew, Deacon

Deacon and Inez Balliew of Calhoun GA believe all kids are winners and founded the Winners' Club to prove it. The Balliews work with handicapped and emotionally scarred children, boosting their low self-esteem by helping them set goals and attain them.

  • community development
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, US, Georgia
Home now: North America, US, Georgia
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Balliew, Deacon and Inez

Deacon and Inez Balliew of Calhoun GA believe all kids are winners and founded the Winners' Club to prove it. The Balliews work with handicapped and emotionally scarred children, boosting their low self-esteem by helping them set goals and attain them.

  • community development
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, US, Georgia
Home now: North America, US, Georgia
Gender: C (couple)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Balliew, Inez

Inez and Deacon Balliew of Calhoun GA believe all kids are winners and founded the Winners' Club to prove it. The Balliews work with handicapped and emotionally scarred children, boosting their low self-esteem by helping them to set goals and attain them.

  • community development
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, US, Georgia
Home now: North America, US, Georgia
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Ballis, George

George Ballis of Tollhouse CA organized “National Land for People” to ensure that small farm owners would get their fair share of available water, too much of which was going to agribusinesses. Ballis himself runs a 40-acre farm where organic, low-water-use agriculture and edible landscapes are demonstrated.

  • business/workplace issues
  • civil liberties
  • environment
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: deceased
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Bangura, John

Sierra Leonean John Bangura saw his parents, other relatives and dozens of friends killed in the fighting in his country. Bangura says he lived for vengeance until he was inspired to work for peace and recovery instead. Through his program, Hope-Sierra Leone, Bangura is now doing community development work in his country, healing the wounds of war.
  • community development
  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Sierra Leone
Home when commended: Europe, Denmark
Home now: Europe, Denmark
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Barber, Lois

Lois Barber of Amherst MA works countless hours as the founder of 20/20 Vision, a peace network that gives its members monthly advisories on peace actions they can carry out in only 20 minutes.

  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): International, global
Home when commended: North America, US, Massachusetts
Home now: North America, US, Massachusetts
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Barbosa, Jerry

Doctor Jerry Barbosa risked his medical career to provide professional services and personal support to three hemophiliac boys in the Ray family, after all three became HIV-positive from transfusions. Attorney Judith Kavanaugh represented the Ray family at no cost to prevent the children from being kept out of school. Both Barbosa and Kavanaugh supported the family for years despite public censure and medical and legal obstacles.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Florida
Home when commended: North America, US, Florida
Home now: North America, US, Florida
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Bard, Marjorie

Marjorie Bard found and assisted women who lived in their cars in affluent areas of Los Angeles. Once upper-middle class themselves, these "unseen homeless" look like the other woman in the area’s malls and libraries. But Bard, once homeless herself, recognized telltale signs, befriended them and helped them restart their lives.

  • poverty
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, Maryland
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Barfield, Clementine

Clementine Barfield started Save Our Sons and Daughters after her sons were shot in an argument with an armed fellow student. Barfield quit a good job with the City of Detroit to become full-time director of SOSAD, which counsels bereaved families and works to create peace, running community gardens and programs in schools to mediate conflicts.

  • community development
  • public safety
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Michigan
Home when commended: North America, US, Michigan
Home now: North America, US, Michigan
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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