Violinist, professor, pastor among 25 ‘genius grant’ winners

CHICAGO (AP) — A violinist who organizes concerts for the homeless and a pastor who protests against voter suppression laws are among this year’s MacArthur fellows and recipients of so-called genius grants.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Thursday announced this year’s 25 fellows, including academics, activists, artists, scholars and scientists. Each will receive $625,000 over five years to use as they please.

Among this year’s fellows is Los Angeles Philharmonic first violinist Vijay Gupta, who co-founded Street Symphony, which has performed at homeless shelters, jails and halfway houses for several years.

Another is North Carolina pastor William J. Barber II, who founded a leadership development group and began holding a series of rallies last year outside the state Capitol to protest voter suppression laws.

The Chicago-based foundation has awarded the fellowships each year since 1981 to people who have shown outstanding talent in order to help further their pursuits.

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