30 Under 30: Activists

This post starts off our 30 Under 30 series. We are spotlighting 30 young Catholics under the age of 30 who are making a difference in our Church and in our world.

We received hundreds of nominations for this series. There were so many amazing nominations and I have so much hope for our Church! In the end, we can only spotlight 30 folks. We don’t claim that these are the best 30 young Catholics in the world, but 30 people who are doing awesome things and who we wanted to highlight.

We will release the 30 under 30 series in 5 different posts, each featuring a different category of honorees. Today, we bring you 5 activists. Our next post will be on Thursday. Enjoy!

Rachana Chhin

Age: 24

Occupation: Intern for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York City

Website: Rachana’s blog archive on Ignitum Today

Personal Twitter Account: @RachanaC

Looking for a 30 under 30 honoree that is far from ordinary? Meet Rachana Chhin. He was raised in Texas as a Buddhist by his parents who were refugees in Cambodia. At the age of 16, he converted to Christianity. His conversion led him to attend at Baylor University where he studied International Affairs and the Great Books. Through his pro-life work, his study of the Great Books, and friendships on campus, Rachana converted to Catholicism in April of 2010.

Chhin is now living out his passion for pro-life work through his legal studies. He is pursuing a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota.

He is also a Murphy Fellow with the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy; a Blackstone Legal Fellow with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF); and an Edmund Burke Fellow with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).

During the summer of 2013, Rachana worked for Texas Alliance for Life during the pro-life HB2 debate at the Texas Legislature (the bill passed!). Finally, this fall he has been serving the Church at the United Nations as an intern for the Sixth (Legal Affairs) Committee for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York City.

Kevin Ford

Age: 29

Occupation: President of the New Catholic Land Movement

Websites: Fiat Farms and New Catholic Land Movement

The beginnings of Kevin Ford’s life after college seemed to fit the Catholic ideal: married with children and a job with meaning. But, soon Kevin and his wife Mary realized that there was something more for them and their family and they made a very radical decision in this modern world of ours…they moved to the country and started Fiat Farms.

What begin as Kevin’s interest in the Catholic Land Movement that was promoted by the likes of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc among others, soon turned into a full-fledged life of sustainable organic farming. The Fords also set out to bring the Catholic Land Movement back to life as the New Catholic Land Movement (NCLM).

The goal of NCLM is to restore an authentic Catholic rural life where families can once again live, work, and pray together. In the future, the Fords hope to build a Catholic Rural Life Institute to train individuals and families in all aspects of Catholic Rural Life and Culture, and then to create community by establishing them on their own land.

George McGraw

Age: 27

Occupation: Executive Director of DIGDEEP

Websites: DIGDEEP

Organization Facebook page: DIGDEEP

Personal Twitter Account: @gmcginge

Every human being has a right to clean water and George McGraw is doing something about it. He is the Executive Director of DIGDEEP, a Right to Water Project in Los Angeles and the found of 4liters.org. He holds an MA in International Law from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in San José, Costa Rica and is also an internationally published legal author, a TEDx presenter, and a contributor to several news and opinion sites like the Huffington Post.

George uses international law to link the historical Catholic social teaching on human dignity to the modern need to build sustainable water solutions for people around the world. DIGDEEP primarily accomplishes this through water projects that provide access to clean water, education and advocacy.

DIGDEEP also engages students through its dynamic and social media fed 4liters challenge. This past year over 587 people lived out the challenge to live on just 4 liters of water per day for all of their drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. The challenge allows people to experience what it is like to live in water poverty and to inspire them to do something about it. They raised over $17,337.

Thomas Peters

Age: 28

Occupation: Former Communications Director for the National Organization for Marriage

Websites: Catholic Vote and National Organization for Marriage

Facebook page: American Papist

Personal Twitter Account: @americanpapist

Commonly known as the American Papist, Thomas Peters is a blogger and marriage advocate extraordinaire. Thomas was one of a handful of American bloggers invited to the Vatican’s first-ever Bloggers Meeting in Rome. His main blogging sites include American Papist, CatholicVote.org, and National Organization for Marriage.

Peters has appeared in dozens of TV, radio and online media outlets discussing and debating the intersection of Catholicism and politics, as well as pro-life and pro-family activism, in addition to writing and speaking about the future of social media and youth activism.

Previously, he served the National Organization for Marriage as their Communications Director. In July of this year, Thomas sustained injuries to his neck and lungs in a swimming accident. Although serious in nature, his health continues to improve. A #istandwiththomaspeters campaign in support of Thomas went viral in November with the likes of Gov. Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity showing their support, among thousands of others. You can read more about the injury and how you can help, here and here. Thomas continues to inspire even through this difficult situation!

Lila Rose

Age: 25

Occupation: President of Live Action

Websites: Live Action and Live Action News

Organization Facebook page: Live Action and Lila Rose

Personal Twitter Account: @LilaGraceRose

Lila Rose is the president of Live Action, a new media nonprofit dedicated to ending abortion and building a culture of life. Lila founded Live Action when she was fifteen years old. The group uses new media to teach the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless.

As Live Action’s president, Lila leads undercover investigations into America’s most notorious abortion facilities, shining a light on the greatest human rights abuse of our time through national media campaigns. Live Action also focuses on educating youth across the country, using its student magazine, The Advocate, and in-depth education programs to spread the truth about human dignity, equal protection for all people, and the evils of the abortion industry.

Lila is a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, The Laura Ingraham Show, as well as many other national TV and radio programs. Her work has been featured on practically every major news outlet, from CBS to CNN, from the Los Angeles Times to the Washington Post. Lila has also written for USA Today, First Things, Politico, and others.

Check out other 30 under 30 posts by category:

Kevin Cotter
Kevin Cotter
Kevin Cotter is the Executive Director of Programming at Amazing Parish. He previously served with FOCUS for 11 years as a missionary and Sr. Director of Curriculum. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Benedictine College and a master’s degree in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute. He is the author of numerous FOCUS resources and Bible studies and several books, including Dating Detox with his wife Lisa and Called: Becoming a Disciple in a Post-Christian World. Kevin currently resides in Denver, CO with his wife, Lisa, and their children.

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