Our editorial team assembled this list of influencers in January, before COVID-19, the subsequent financial collapse, and well before the seismic shift in the discussion on policing and race spurred by the murder of George Floyd. The world is a very different place than it was six months ago.
We are proud to say that our honorees have met the moment. Nicci Kincer and the Board of Alton Pride, for example, took the funds they raised for their festival and donated them to the Alton Food Crisis Center. Many others, with activist Alex Cohen at the top of that list, have been in the streets fighting for change.
Our influencers represent all corners of our community, and include those who having been pushing the envelope for decades, like our Lifetime Influencer Joan Lipkin, and young and innovative folks like Grayson Chamberlain, who made national news for the clothing library he co-founded, which helps students find outfits that match their gender identity.
Substance abuse remains a dire problem, so we honor Brandon Reid and Christine Elbert for their work helping those in recovery, and we share Jeff Small’s inspiring comeback story.
Each of these influencers has shaped our community, and we are better off for their efforts.