If Barack Obama hadn't already written the book, Richard Mabion might have called his memoir The Audacity of Hope. Here's a guy who lives in a neglected corridor of a struggling city in the poorest county in the state of Kansas. A guy who got inspired about economic and environmental activism by author David Korten but found so few people of color speaking at national conferences that he was compelled to detour into prickly territory: how progressive organizations aren't reaching out to minority communities. For months, as Mabion started to advocate for locally driven economic development in Kansas City, Kansas, he hit nothing but bureaucratic walls and deaf ears. But over the past year, Mabion has started to grease the wheels of change with his persistence and enthusiasm, whether it has been pushing for better restoration of the Quindaro slave-town ruins or throwing a neighborhood party such as the Quindaro Community Unity Festival. The group he created, Building a Sustainable Earth Community, has done the dirty work of discussing race and activism and also has connected like-minded people who have gone on to work together on projects, including an organic garden at Wyandotte High School. Mabion's audacity might have pissed some people off, but his doggedness has inspired hope in his long-suffering neighborhood.