The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Wednesday announced the newest winners of its "genius" awards," lauding 21 creative individuals it says "improve our lives and better our world."
Among the 2014 MacArthur Fellows are cartoonist and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, jazz composer and saxophonist Steve Coleman, poet-translator Khaled Mattawa, civil rights lawyer Mary L. Bonauto and labor organizer Ai-jen Poo.
Poo is director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, an organization that advocates for fair treatment and protections for the country's domestic workers. As the organization states on its website: "Domestic workers care for the things we value the most: our families and our homes." They "deserve respect, dignity and basic labor protections."
"Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world."
—Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program"I am so honored to be among the Class of 2014 MacArthur Fellows," Poo said in a prepared statement. "I am humbled to see my name among visionaries whose work is transforming our world."
"The award is a direct reflection of dynamism and impact of the thousands of domestic workers and caring people whose courage and dedication have built our movement to achieve a more caring world for workers, women, and families. It’s everything you do to reveal the caring majority in this country, that is the true genius," she stated.
The winners each receive $625,000, paid out over five years, to use in any manner they wish.
"Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world," stated Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. "Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination."
Click here to read more about each of this year's MacArthur Fellows.