The pen is always mightier than the sword. In the case of Yung Pueblo, the pen allows him to help others conquer their personal battles and in turn heal the world through words. Battling his own anxiety and depression, Diego Perez, found peace in Vipassana meditation. Finding real healing through his practice inspired him to share his personal lessons and musings on everything from freedom to the human condition via prose and poetry. Pueblo self-published Inward, a collection of his writing, which touched a nerve and brought him global attention. But before publishing and public speaking spread his message far and wide, he shared it on Instagram to see if people were interested in his ideas. Interested is an understatement. To date 971,000 people who follow his daily mantras. The core of his message is clear: personal healing and growth are the first steps to changing the world. Pueblo’s example and peaceful process is leading people to self awareness, one post at a time.
Most things are easier said than done. Don’t tell Ritchie Torres that though. The 30-something from the Bronx took his frustrations of seeing everyday New Yorkers struggle and did something about it. In high school Torres completed a leadership program that helped him get a job with a city councilman. At 25 he ran for, and won, a council seat himself representing the Bronx. For Torres the political is all personal. He is the first openly gay, Afro Latino councilman in history and fights for those communities. As a child who grew up in public housing, he has led efforts to improve New York City’s public housing system, mental health services, and LGBTQ issues. Most importantly, Torres isn’t afraid to question politics as usual. His new focus is on winning a seat in Congress to bring the same fighting spirit to Washington. We can’t wait to see who he will inspire in return.