News Release

David Schimke, editor in chief: 612-338-5040 ext. 325,
Rachel Smith, public relations specialist: 785-274-4441, 

Utne Reader Names 11 New Yorkers as “Visionaries”
National Magazine Selects Residents Among 50 People who are Changing the World

NEW YORK (Oct. 14, 2009) — Utne Reader, the best of the alternative press, names 11 New Yorkers  visionaries who are making their individual marks on the world. They are among 50 people the magazine features in its November-December issue, on newsstands Oct. 20. 

“Each of the inventors, environmentalists, media activists and community organizers we chose to celebrate this year are fueled by an inexhaustible desire to serve the greater good. Labors of peace, love and justice are rarely celebrated these days, and given the many challenges facing our world, it was exciting to give readers 50 reasons to believe in a brighter future,” says David Schimke, Utne Reader’s editor in chief. 

New York Visionaries:
Diana Balmori, founder, Balmori Associates -- Balmori is an architect who built a reputation designing green roofs, which she calls the “fifth facade” of buildings. Balmori’s visions keep growing more ambitious, melding futurism with sustainability.

Wendy Brawer, founder, Green Map -- By highlighting a community’s green features — compost drop sites, green space and community gardens — Brawer’s maps become tools for environmental and community activists, pointing the way to sustainability. 

Wafaa El-Sadr, founder, International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs -- El-Sadr, an Egyptian-born doctor, has revolutionized the care of AIDS patients through a treatment center she started in East Harlem and has since expanded to work in many African nations. 

Mark Gorton, founder and executive director, The Open Planning Project -- Gorton wants citizens to question the role of automobiles in the world and to recognize how inefficient and inappropriate they are for an urban environment. 

Scott Harrison, founder, charity: water -- Harrison is a former nightclub owner and party hound who decided to do something for others. His group charity: water has provided clean water to nearly one million people in Africa and Asia.

Richard Nash, founder, Cursor -- Nash will launch his publishing start-up Cursor within the year. A notable independent book publisher, Nash plans to transform the ailing book industry with a new business model. 

Parvez Sharma, filmmaker -- Sharma spent five years traveling through the Islamic world, focusing on stories of gay and lesbian Muslims. The film, A Jihad for Love, is a first-of-its-kind documentary about Muslims who are struggling to reconcile their faith with their sexuality. 

Sarah Schulman, author, “Ties That Bind -- In “Ties That Bind,” Schulman, a lesbian social critic, urges progressives to confront homophobia within their families. Schulman reminds us that only then will we be as gay-friendly as we think we are.

Dean Spade, creator, -- Dean Spade and Tyrone Boucher created to discuss the effects of capitalism. Their hope is to generate national dialogue, regardless of political affiliation, about capitalism and discerning between financial security and hoarding, and to speculate about how to redistribute wealth. 

Bob Stein, founder, Institute for the Future of the Book -- A digital pioneer who introduced the CD-ROM, Stein now turns his attention to the ways social networking can turn publishing into an interactive give-and-take between readers and authors. 

Hiroshi Sunairi, founder, Tree Project -- Taking seeds from trees that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, this artist-entrepreneur has encouraged people to plant them all over the world. Sunairi works to cultivate peace by creating beauty from the devastation.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: For interviews and other features about this year’s honorees, visit:

NOTE: For the complete article, cover image or photos of the visionaries, please contact Rachel Smith at 785-274-4441 or

About Utne Reader
Since 1984, Utne Reader ( has been the vanguard of the alternative press, celebrating independent news and views from across the political spectrum. With ideas, trends and solutions you won’t see in the mainstream media for months or even years, those who want to know what’s happening next, read Utne Reader first.

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