5 Unlikely Heroes of 2017

While the year 2017 will likely go down in history for some truly terrible reasons, it should also be remembered as a year that had many heroes. Among them were the people who risked their lives saving others during devastating hurricanes and wildfires; the women who came forward in the #MeToo movement to expose rampant sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace; and everyone opposed to the current White House administration who got off their butts and took actions, large and small, to resist.

Along with all of them, here are just a few of the more unlikely heroes of the year.

1. Bahtiyar Duysak, Twitter Employee Who Shut Down Trump’s Account

For 11 brief, shining minutes on Nov. 2, our fears were alleviated about the President of the United States starting a nuclear war via his incendiary tweets.

Unfortunately, as we all now know, it wasn’t Trump or his handlers who decided to close his @RealDonaldTrump account. It was temporarily deactivated by Bahtiyar Duysak, a departing Twitter customer service contract worker (who should also top a list of 2017 Employees of the Year).

During the last hour of his final shift, Duysak got an alert from a user that Trump’s account had violated Twitter’s terms of service. As Twitter employees are supposed to do, he reported the alert, but didn’t think the account would really be deactivated.

“I do not deserve to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Duysak told TechCrunch. “But I love Twitter and I love America.”

2. Juli Briskman, Bicyclist Who Lost Job After Flipping Off Trump

As Juli Briskman was riding her bicycle down a Sterling, Va., street in late October, Trump’s motorcade drove by. In a viral photo taken by news photographer Brendan Smialowski, she can be seen giving the president a one-fingered salute.

“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” Briskman told the Huffington Post. “I’m thinking, DACA recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one-third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again.”

Briskman was employed at the time as a marketing specialist by government contractor Akima. When she informed the HR department it was her in the photo, she was fired – not for flipping the bird, but for sharing the “obscene” photo on her private Facebook and Twitter accounts, which violates the company’s social media policy. (However, a senior director at Akima who once called a coworker a “fucking Libtard asshole” on his personal Facebook account was not let go, Briskman told the Huffington Post.)

Her gesture may have cost Briskman her job, but she has no regrets about it. She told the Huffington Post she plans to seek employment with a group she believes in, such as Planned Parenthood or PETA. In the meantime, the “Thank You Juli Briskman” GoFundMe account started by a fan has raised over $133,000 on her behalf.

3. Creators of Alt and Rogue Twitter Accounts

After an Interior Department employee tweeted about the low attendance at the inauguration ceremony in January, Donald Trump put social media gag orders on more than a dozen federal agencies. But that didn’t stop resistance Twitter accounts, initially created by disgruntled employees, from popping up.

The first was @AltUSNatParkService, which quickly got hundreds of thousands of followers. Accounts like @AltEPA, @RogueNASA, @AltUSDA and dozens of others soon followed. Although many of these Twitter accounts aren’t run or are no longer run by federal employees (for example, to protect colleagues, @AltUSNatParkService has been handed off to environmentalists and activists, according to NPR), they continue to provide an essential public service.

RogueNASA Twitter account

Photo credit: @RogueNASA/Twitter

4. Robby Strong, Gift Giver of Horse Manure to Mnuchin

Former Goldman Sachs partner and current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth, per Forbes: $385 million) promised for months to show just how the Tax Reform Act, passed by Republicans in December, would actually benefit the economy as well as those of us who, unlike Mnuchin or others in Trump’s administration, are not millionaires. He never did.

Along with all House and Senate Democrats, the majority of Americans were opposed to and are appalled by the passing of this tax scam – er, act. Among them is Robby Strong, a clinical psychologist with the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health.

“I was talking to a friend about the tax bill and we were both complaining about how it’s total horseshit,” Strong told CBS Los Angeles. “And one of our friends who happens to be there owns horses.”

So, as a protest, Strong shoveled manure from those horses into two large, gift-wrapped cartons.

“Mr. Mnuchin & Trump, We’re returning the ‘gift’ of the Christmas tax bill. It’s bullshit,” he wrote in a note attached to a box. “Warmest wishes, The American People.”

Strong personally delivered the boxes to Mnuchin’s mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air. When no one answered the buzzers at either residence, he left the packages by the security gates.

Although Strong was questioned by the Secret Service, he has not been charged with any crimes. “Is there a law that you can’t drop off a box of poo? Not really,” he told AL.com.

5. David Ermold, Seeker of Kim Davis’ County Clerk Job

After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Rowan County, Ky., clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to David Ermold and his partner, along with four other couples, saying she was prohibited to do so by “God’s authority.”

A judge ordered her to issue the licenses, but she refused and spent five days in jail. She kept her job, however, and the Kentucky Legislature changed the law so clerks don’t have to sign marriage licenses.

Now Davis is running for re-election as county clerk, and she’s facing a formidable opponent: Ermold.

“I just cannot sit by and just let her take that seat without a fight,” Ermold told Newsweek. He said he wants to “restore professional leadership, fairness and responsibility to the clerk’s office.”

Davis had to sign the forms Ermold filled out to run for county clerk. “She made sure Ermold had all of his paperwork and signatures to file for office, softly humming the old hymn ‘Jesus Paid It All’ as her fingers clacked across a keyboard,” according to the Associated Press.

Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski via Getty Images. Image used under fair use.

130 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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DAVID fleming
Dave f7 months ago

Proud of this lady , Pity there were not more like her .

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Caitlin B
Past Member 9 months ago

Thank you for these.

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Leo C
Leo Custer9 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Joan E
Joan E9 months ago

Cheers to those who have done their part to resist the corrupt and crazy Trump regime.

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Leo C
Leo Custer9 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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