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SWFL Human Rights Strategist Named 2017 MacArthur Fellow

Rachel Iacovone
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its allies gather in front of a Publix supermarket in Tampa.

The MacArthur Foundation just named its 2017 class of fellows, and one name in particular may stand out to Southwest Floridians. That is, Greg Asbed.

Asbed is a human rights strategist who co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The Southwest Florida group has since gone national — and, in some cases, international — through the spread of its Fair Food Program that seeks better treatment and higher pay for farmworkers.

Now, Asbed has earned himself a more-than-half-a-million-dollar fellowship to continue his work in the community. He joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about what his plans are for what’s known as a “genius grant.”

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.