Pittsburgh anti-violence advocate named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2023

For the past 12 years, Forbes has recognized what it calls “North American Trailblazers” with its annual 30 Under 30 list. Today, the media giant announced its 2023 30 Under 30 Listand among them is Leon Ford, a local anti-violence advocate.

Ford is among 600 people in 20 different categories who, according to a press release, have “turned to entrepreneurship to solve the world’s toughest challenges – from global warming to reproductive health.”

Ford, 29, was named on the list Social impact category for his work to positively change the relationship between society and law enforcement.

“In 2012, there was Leon Ford shot five times by a Pittsburgh police officer and was paralyzed during a traffic stop that ended up being a case of mistaken identity,” according to a Forbes profile. “Since then, Ford has become an internationally recognized voice for social change, police reform, and reconciliation between law enforcement and the community.”

The profile also highlights how in 2020, Ford “became friends” with Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, and together they founded Hear Foundation to “convene programs aimed at reducing gun violence, injuries and workforce development.”

Collectively, the honorees have raised more than $5.3 billion in venture funding, nearly five times the $1 billion raised by the Class of 2022, according to Forbes. Ford contributed $1.27 million to that amount in grants and individual donations in November 2022, along with The Hear Foundation, which is awarding $150,000 in mini-grants to “local leaders committed to gun violence prevention and mental health.” .

The announcement puts a national spotlight on an individual who has been recognized for his work in Pittsburgh. In 2017, Ford was named Pittsburgh City PaperPittsburgher of the Year for speaking out against police brutality, advocating for affordable housing, and denouncing the displacement of East Liberty residents.

More recently, Ford donated clothes he wore the night he was shot at the Heinz History Center to “demonstrate his pain while reminding the public of the need for more reform and healing.”

Ford responded to the news on his Facebook pageposting: “Ten years ago I was fighting for my life in ICU. Today I made the Forbes 30 under 30. This is what faith, love, redemption, and unspeakable hope look like. God is good! Congratulations to all leaders making an impact. I’m so proud of all of you @forbesunder30.”

Back to top button