Upstanders | Season 2
Season 2 of Upstanders shines a light on ordinary people acting with immense courage and humanity to make their communities -- and our country -- better for all of us.
When the coal mine in Huntington, WV closed, people lost hope. The staple source of income for generations was gone. But Brandon Dennison saw opportunity. A native West Virginian, he returned home from the big city and started the Coalfield Development Corps, which aims to rebuild the Appalachian economy through creating jobs in sustainable construction, agriculture, and woodwork, and a pathway to higher education degrees.
After hearing reports of staggeringly high suicide rates among LGBTQ youth in Utah, Stephanie Larsen recognized a dire need within her LDS community for support of LGBTQ youth who felt ostracized. She founded Encircle, a space with nightly events, support groups, and workshops that have sparked new conversations and a sense of belonging for LGBTQ youth in Provo, Utah.
For six years, Bob Inglis represented the reddest state in the nation. He opposed Al Gore, and unquestioningly denied climate change. That all changed when his son asked him to clean up his act on the environment. He risked his seat in Congress to challenge fellow Republicans to take a stand for climate change reduction policy. Now, as the founder of RepublicEn.org, he travels the country to speak with conservative communities, sparking dialogue about solutions to climate change that work for them.
Middletown used to be a booming industrial town. Then it became the place young people wanted to leave. Ami Vitori was one of them. After time in D.C., New York and LA, Ami felt a pull to her hometown again to help Middletown defy the narrative of “dying America”. She reached into her retirement fund to build new businesses and work with other local entrepreneurs to create a hub for business and newfound community in the downtown.
When Hansel Tookes started medical school at University of Miami, Miami was number one in new HIV infections in the nation. Florida had no law allowing intravenous drug users to exchange unsanitary syringes for new one. After observing countless cases of patients hospitalized for HIV infection from dirty needles, Dr. Tookes set out to create Miami’s first needle exchange – a journey that would last him four years. His heart and commitment to saving lives eventually led to the passage of a bill that allowed Dr. Tookes to open IDEA Exchange, Florida’s first needle exchange.
Executive Producer: Howard Schultz
Produced & Written By: Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Director & Director of Photography: Gabe Silverman
Script Writer & Coordinating Producer: Jamie Coughlin
Camera Operators: Jamie Coughlin, Lani Milton, Julia Reihs, Grant Slater, Joshua Trujillo
Edited by: Julia Reihs, Sara McKellogg Lane
Music Composed By: Jason Staczek, APM Music