William Upski Wimsatt
William Wimsatt, also known as Billy or Upski (born 1972) is a social entrepreneur, author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, political organizer, and former graffiti artist. Wimsatt is founder of the League of Young Voters, co-founder of Generational Alliance and the author or editor of six books, most recently Please Don't Bomb The Suburbs.


Wimsatt was born in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools is a private, co-educational day school in Chicago, Illinois. It is affiliated with the University of Chicago...

, Kenwood Academy
Kenwood Academy
Kenwood Academy is a public 4-year high school located in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, USA. Kenwood Academy accepts high school students living in its attendance area: From Lake Michigan to Cottage Grove Avenue east to west, and 47th to the Midway Plaisance north to south...

, and Oberlin College
Oberlin College
Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, noteworthy for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students. Connected to the college is the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the oldest continuously operating...

. His father, William C. Wimsatt
William C. Wimsatt
William C. Wimsatt is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science , and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago...

, is a philosophy of science professor at the University of Chicago. Wimsatt uses "Upski" as his middle name, but it is really the graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

 tag he used growing up in Chicago. During the early 1990's, Wimsatt (junior) defaced utility poles, mailboxes, and other public property in the vicinity of the University of Chicago, using this alias.


Wimsatt's first book was Bomb The Suburbs
Bomb The Suburbs
Bomb The Suburbs, by William Upski Wimsatt is a mix of storytelling, journalism photojournalism and original research on a broad range of topics like suburban sprawl, hip hop culture, wiggers, youth activism, graffiti, and Chicago...

(1994), a collection of essays celebrating urban life and critiquing the suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

an mindset. The essay "We Use Words Like Mackadocious", previously printed in The Source
The Source (magazine)
The Source is a United States-based, monthly full-color magazine covering hip-hop music, politics, and culture, founded in 1988. It is the world's second longest running rap periodical, behind United Kingdom-based publication Hip Hop Connection. The Source was founded as a newsletter in 1988...

 (May 1993), celebrated and critiqued the wigger
Wigger is a pejorative slang term for a white person who emulates mannerisms, language, and fashions associated with African-American culture, particularly hip hop in the United States or the Grime/Garage scene in Britain. The term is a portmanteau of either wannabe or white and nigger...

 subculture. Wimsatt released No More Prisons (1999), referencing urbanism
Broadly, urbanism is a focus on cities and urban areas, their geography, economies, politics, social characteristics, as well as the effects on, and caused by, the built environment.-Philosophy:...

 and the prison-industrial complex
Prison-industrial complex
"Prison–industrial complex" is a term used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. The term is analogous to the military–industrial complex that...

, in conjunction with an underground hip-hop album on Raptivism Records. Along with editing the books Another World is Possible (2001) and Future 500: Youth Organizing and Activism in the United States (2003), Wimsatt co-edited How To Get Stupid White Men Out Of Office (2004), a collection of stories from youth organizers around the world who won or swung elections. His latest book is Please Don't Bomb The Suburbs (Akashic Books, 2010).

Political organizing

Wimsatt founded the League of Young Voters (2003) and co-founded the Generational Alliance (2005). As a philanthropic consultant, he coined the term "Cool Rich Kids" (1999) to refer to young progressive philanthropists associated with the organization Resource Generation. He has consulted for dozens of organizations including Rock The Vote
Rock the Vote
Rock the Vote is a non-profit organization in the United States of America whose mission is to engage and build the political power of young people....

, MoveOn.org, and Green For All
Green For All
Green for All is an NGO in the United States "working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty." Based in Oakland, California, Green For All advocates for a clean energy economy as a solution to both environmental and economic problems. Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins...

. He is currently a Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center directing The Field 3.0 Project, a dialogue and documentation effort to drive innovation in field organizing. He also runs All Hands On Deck, to mobilize young voters in swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

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