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Best Agitator 

George Edwards, Black Trades Council, Carl Stokes Brigade

It's a special kind of advocate who will stand in protest time and again with handmade signs and only a handful of supporters. It's a rarer sort who will drive a councilman to violence (or even alleged violence, as the case may be). This year Edwards has done both. When members of the Carl Stokes Brigade told him that tradesmen from Joe Jones's East Side ward were not being employed on a $26 million renovation project, he decided to check it out. He visited the site, filmed it, and collected reports from workers on the job. When he determined that the Brigade members were right, he went public. Protests, interviews, even a heated exchange with Jones followed, resulting in the councilman allegedly punching him in the jaw. Although his claim was disputed by Jones and failed to result in prosecution or a lawsuit, Edwards used the incident to focus attention on the lack of minority inclusion. Now that it's election season, Edwards intends to raise the issue with voters. "We want to make sure all citizens have access to jobs and access to fairness," he says. Advice to candidates: Get out of the way.


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