ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Four people who have overcome immense adversity are being honored this year at the second annual HateBraker Heroes Awards.
The awards are scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac Hotel. HateBrakers is a nonprofit dedicated to ending hate.
The HateBraker heroes are:
Lizzie Sider, named by the Country Music Association "Who to Watch" in 2013 will receive the Peter Yarrow HateBraker Hero Award. She always loved to sing but mean girls used to ask her to sing and then laugh at her and run away. One day she stopped crying and found her power in words and music. Today her Bullying Prevention Tour, comforting kids of all ages who have been teased or bullied, has taken her to California and Florida already reaching over 70,000 kids through live assemblies. Her first St. Louis assembly tour will be held in May.
Morgan Keenan was a teenager when he first was outed and his parents then shunned him from the family. At sixteen, Morgan's challenges included keeping a roof over his head and finishing his Algebra homework. He went on to finish high school and college through scholarships and hard work, Two years ago he founded Missouri GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) Network, which is a network of high school clubs in Missouri working to empower student leaders to fight homophobia and transphobia in Missouri Schools. Today there are over 45 clubs in the network and Morgan's focus is developing student leaders who create change and put the brakes on hate in Missouri.
Willie Dyson's mother abandoned him when he was six weeks old. He was frail and sickly when the white couple who fostered him was told he would never walk. Through their healing care he not only thrived, he went on to college with a football scholarship. His professional music video "No Color" captures the raw and real story of his struggle and his effort to build social support for inter-racial adoption.
Lenore Pepper, St. Louis icon of wisdom, generosity and business success was six years old when a family in the neighborhood brutally beat her and called her anti-Semitic names. She says she managed to survive such hate "by killing them with kindness. Anything I can do to help make things better, I want to do. Anything."