If the current debate over teaching American history and who gets credit for building this country is any indication, the celebration of Black excellence remains a vital and necessary endeavor.
The Root 100—our annual list of the best African-American innovators, thought leaders and trailblazers ages 25 to 45—serves as a reminder that we have always been here driving this country to do and be better.
Last year, Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project, topped our annual list because her work provoked a necessary and long overdue re-examination of this country’s founding—and outraged conservatives are doing everything in their power to suppress the truth about America’s real history. The Root 100 also recognized athletes such as Maya Moore, Kyrie Irving and Bubba Wallace, who didn’t just stick to sports but used their high profiles to amplify the racial injustices that many had taken to the streets to protest during a racial reckoning this country hasn’t seen since the civil rights movement.
But what The Root 100 does best is turn the spotlight on those doing the work with little to no fanfare. People like Dr. Yashica Robinson, who has been on the frontlines in Alabama fighting one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the land, at a time when the assault on reproductive rights is reaching a critical point—including a Supreme Court case out of Mississippi that could roll back Roe v. Wade. Or scientist Moogega Cooper, who, as planetary protection engineer at NASA, helped ensure that when the Perseverance rover landed on Mars, the red planet would be safe from Earth’s contaminants.
Finding these unsung heroes is where you come in. We’re looking for African Americans ages 25 to 45 who have excelled in the past year in the fields of community (social justice/education, politics, entertainment, sports, media, the arts, science/technology and business. From that list, our committee will use an algorithm to score and rank the nominees based on reach, substance and influence to create our list of 100 honorees, which will be unveiled later this year. This is not a list created by popular vote, so multiple nominations will be deleted.
Please fill out this form to nominate someone for the 2021 The Root 100!