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150 Karangahape Road
Auckland, Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

+64 9 300 9955



Portraits of Courage by KK Ottesen


The Book

Activism begins in small ways and in unexpected places. In this inspiring book, over forty activists recount the experiences that sparked their journeys and share the beliefs that keep them going. These are ordinary citizens who met challenge with action. Their visions for peace, equality, and justice have reshaped American society—from voting to reproductive rights, and from the environment to the economy.

This book brings together multiple generations and different (sometimes opposite) perspectives. But their powerful narratives and KK Ottesen’s luminous photographs reveal the passion, purpose, and optimism that unite these diverse figures. Collectively, their stories remind us that anyone can take the future into their own hands.


Harry Belafonte
Clyde Bellecourt
Tarana Burke
Jasilyn Charger
Angela Davis
Harry Edwards
Shepard Fairey
Avram Finkelstein

Alicia Garza
Gabrielle Giffords
Leah Greenberg
Dolores Huerta
Bob Kafka
John Kerry
Billie Jean King
Ezra Levin

John Lewis
Phyllis Lyon
Nicole Maines
Jeanne Mancini
Rose Marcario
Jenny Beth Martin
Bill McKibben
Ralph Nader
Grover Norquist

Ai-jen Poo
Bonnie Raines
Sister Megan Rice
Cecile Richards
Bernie Sanders
Linda Sarsour
Tanya Selvaratnam
Anas “Andy” Shallal

Reverend Al Sharpton
Edward Snowden
Pete Souza
Stephanie Thomas
Gustavo Torres
Micah White
Marian Wright Edelman
Jayna Zweiman


The Author

KK Ottesen is an author and photographer who shares the stories of peoples’ lives through first-person narrative interviews and photographic portraits. Through her work, she seeks to break down barriers and stereotypes and allow for the discovery and celebration of common ground. Ottesen is a regular contributor to the Washington Post magazine where her interviews and photographs have appeared for more than a decade; other credits include Esquire,, and Washingtonian. Her previous book, Great Americans, explored what it means to be an American through interviews and photographs with everyday individuals who share names with some of the country’s most famous and infamous icons. She lives in Washington, DC, with her family. More of her work can be found at or @kkottesen on social media.