Mozilla announces 25 honorees for the Rise 25 Awards

Artists, activists, creators and more to be celebrated at event in Berlin, Germany on Friday, Oct. 13

After months of searching and almost a thousand submissions from all over the globe, we are proud to announce the 25 people who will be honored at the Rise 25 Awards, which will be held during Mozilla’s Reclaim the Internet, a five day-long event in Berlin, Germany that kicks off Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, we want to recognize 25 game changers — artists, activists, creators, builders and advocates — who are shaping the future of the internet to be more ethical, responsible and inclusive, ensuring a positive future for all. 

At Mozilla, we believe the most groundbreaking innovations arise when people of diverse backgrounds come together to collaborate and openly trade ideas. This approach to innovation — grounded in strong pillars of experimentation and community — has defined our work over the past 25 years, fueling global movements around open-source innovation, online privacy and trustworthy AI

“At a time when many feel they’ve lost control over their digital lives, it’s easy to forget about all that’s wonderful online,” said Mitchell Baker, CEO of Mozilla. “That’s why we are honoring these individuals who are doing work that unlocks the internet as a powerful vehicle of imagination and connection. They are 25 people who are reclaiming an internet that is open, accessible and meaningful to everyone.”

Here are the honorees, in no particular order:


  • Sylvia Grace Borda (Canada) explores cultural policy through photography, environmental art and community engagement.
  • Marlena Myles (USA) is a Native American artist dedicated to honoring Indigenous history and traditions. 
  • Julia Janssen (Netherlands) seeks to make our digital society’s challenges tangible through art.
  • Dries Depoorter (Belgium) melds technology and art to highlight digital modern concerns.
  • Marek Tuszynski (Germany) is an artist, designer and curator working at the intersection of technology and activism.

These artists are being honored for creating innovative and thought-provoking digital artwork, using the internet as their canvas to inspire others and rethink what’s possible online.


  • Daniel Motaung (South Africa) is an ex-Facebook moderator and whistleblower who fights for more ethical online practices.
  • Ahmad Hegab (Egypt) works to combat technology-facilitated, gender-based violence in the Middle East and North Africa region with the SecDev Foundation and Harassmap. 
  • Sneha Revanur (USA) leads Encode Justice, which aims to elevate youth voices in support of  human-centered AI.
  • Chris Smalls (USA) is an Amazon Labor Union founder and president who advocates for workers’ rights and conditions.
  • Larissa May (USA) works to empower the next generation’s healthy relationship with social media through her nonprofit, #HalfTheStory.

These activists are being honored for using the internet as a tool to amplify their voices in order to drive social and political change.


  • Abbie Spector Richards (USA) is a TikTok misinformation researcher sharing educational content on the platform.
  • Kay López (USA) of Latinas Poderosas empowers Latinas by celebrating their heritage and accomplishments.
  • Vitus “V” Spehar (USA) makes news accessible and less intimidating with their TikTok channel Under The Desk News, standing out as a unique voice in journalism.
  • Rachel Hislop (USA) is a writer, strategist and public speaker. She has spearheaded dynamic editorial strategies to propel brands to new heights at places like OkayPlayer and Parkwood Entertainment.
  • Nyamekye Wilson (USA) develops educational programs for Black women around the world with her nonprofit, Black Sisters in STEM.

These creators are being honored for using storytelling to build community online, inspiring their audiences and sparking important conversations.


  • Rob Morris (USA) is the CEO of Koko, which provides mental health support to more than 2 million young people online.
  • Andy Yen (Switzerland) is the founder and CEO of Proton, which offers a privacy-by-default online ecosystem.
  • Trisha Prabhu (USA) is the founder and CEO of ReThink, a patented app that proactively combats cyberbullying.
  • Raphael Mimoun (USA) is the founder of Horizontal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building tools that empower journalists and human rights defenders.
  • Keoni Mahelona (New Zealand) develops tech tools to protect and promote indigenous languages and knowledge.

These builders are being honored for making the web more secure and accessible to everyone.


  • Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad (Norway) leads the development of more ethical digital policies at the Norwegian Consumer Council.
  • Fanny Hidvégi (Belgium) leads the European policy strategy of Access Now, an organization defending the digital rights of at-risk communities.
  • Natalia Domagala (UK) is a global digital policy specialist, who launched the first national-level public sector data ethicist role in the UK and led the development of one of the first national standards for algorithmic transparency. 
  • Charlotte Slaiman (USA) is vice president at Public Knowledge, developing tools for the democratization of knowledge.
  • Dr. J. Nathan Matias (USA) leads the Citizens and Technology Lab at Cornell University and champions independent technology research.

These advocates are being honored for shaping the regulations and policies governing the internet, fighting to keep it open and free.

We believe that we all have a role to play in reclaiming the internet. This celebration isn’t just about Mozilla; it’s about all the innovators, advocates, creators and communities who are working to build a happier, healthier web. 

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