A growing collective of young black feminists is helping to give voice to communities that have long gone unheard and underrepresented. Social media platforms such as Twitter have given this new generation of activists a place to build community, to debate gender and sexual politics, and to use as a springboard for a career. Here’s a list of young black feminists who are making a difference.
1. Wagatwe Wanjuki
Wanjuki runs the popular blog F—k Yeah, Feminists, where she uses her personal story of sexual assault to help empower other sexual assault survivors. Wanjuki is also working to end campus sexual violence. She has been an organizer for the Know Your IX campaign, a program designed to educate college students about their rights under Title IX, which has primarily been used to address sex discrimination in sports but is really about ending sex discrimination in education. Wanjuki has written for many feminist publications and has appeared on The Daily Show and Katie Couric’s talk show. She was recently invited to the White House to discuss campus sexual violence.
2. Hannah Giorgis
3. Lori Adelman
Currently working as the executive director of partnerships for the influential site Feministing, Adelman has a long rap sheet of feminist work. She works as a communications and advocacy officer in the global division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously Adelman worked for the Every Woman Every Child initiative, which was launched in 2010 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition.
4. Ryann Holmes
In 2009 Holmes founded Bklyn Boihood, an organization dedicated to highlighting masculine-identified women and non-gender-conforming members of Brooklyn, N.Y.’s black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Outside of her work for Bklyn Boihood, Holmes works as the director of community programming at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts.
5. Bim Adewunmi
Adewunmi is a British writer who focuses on pop culture, film and feminism. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Arise and the New Statesmen. You can also find her writing on her website, Yoruba Girl Dancing.
6. Black Girls Talking
Alesia, Ramou, Aurelia and Fatima are the four women behind Black Girls Talking, a popular podcast that discusses the representation of people of color in the media. Each episode is filled with witty and thoughtful critiques of pop culture.
7. Kim Crosby
Crosby is a Toronto-based, award-winning artist, facilitator and educator. She is founder of the People Project, an empowerment organization for LGBT people of color. She is also the coordinator of Brave New Girls, a program for women and transgender people of color.
8. Charlene Carruthers
Carruthers is a Chicago native who currently works as the national coordinator of the Black Youth Project’s BYP 100, a program that utilizes 100 young black activists across the nation to encourage young people to get involved in social justice. A longtime organizer and social-justice trainer, Carruthers has worked with the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center and ColorOfChange.org.
9. Alexis Pauline Gumbs
In addition to being an educator and writer, Gumbs is co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project, a national archive of black LGBT history, and the community school Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
10. CeCe McDonald
McDonald is well-known for her 19-month imprisonment after being the victim of a transphobic attack. Since her release from prison, McDonald has spoken out about the rights of transgender women. Actress and activist Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) is releasing a documentary about McDonald’s life.
Diamond Sharp is an editorial fellow at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.