K.L. Shannon got into so many fights as a kid that her folks called her "Rooster." Today, she's still landing blows -- as a community organizer who brings issues to the people.
Shannon, 38, grew up in Seattle's Central District and was co-chair of Jobs With Justice when she started helping Mothers for Police Accountability call down the 1993 killing of Antonio Jackson, a Black man choked to death at a Safeway store for supposedly stealing a pack of cigarettes.
More recently, she has helped repeal an auto impound law that targeted the poor, rallied residents of Yesler Terrace to save their public housing and, as an organizer for The Defender Association's Racial Disparity Project, is working to end the racial bias of drug laws that put her own brother in prison for a whiff of crack cocaine. In her spare time, she documents incidents of police brutality for the NAACP.
"Kids are getting 10 to 15 years [for] non-violent crimes," Shannon says of the War on Drugs. "Where's the humanity in that?"