The Grio website, an African-American-oriented news and opinion website owned by NBC news, has just named Louisiana Justice Institute co-director Tracie Washington as one of 2011's "100 History Makers in the Making."
Among those honored are leaders in the fields of politics, science, education, health, and culture, with recipients ranging from rapper Nicki Minaj and actor Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar from The Wire television show) to Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and Haitian author Edwidge Danticat.
New Orleans was well-represented on this national list, with other honorees including Advocates for Environmental Human Rights co-director Monique Harden; Congressman Cedric Richmond; musician Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty); and former Times-Picayune columnist, and current Treme writer, Lolis Elie.
"Tracie Washington is making history," according to the profile, "assessing the impact of the BP oil spill on African-American fishing communities in the bayou. LJI dispenses facts and figures to these communities, informing fishers on the extent of the destruction, and working with these newly-informed populations to appeal for compensation the U.S. government promised -- up to half a year of lost earnings."
The Grio profile highlights Washington's legal work on behalf of public housing residents, victims of the BP Drilling Disaster, and in support of health care access, noting, "in her efforts to protect the interests of Louisiana's less fortunate, this activist-attorney understands how to leverage the law." In an interview with The Grio, Washington responds, "I'm not sure I'm making history as much as waves."