Young people have always been at the center of major civil rights movements. From fighting for a seat at the table in conversations about gun control to pointing out racism and homophobia through art, here are five young black activists who deserve a round of applause for their activism.
Mari Copeny, 11 Among the crowd of young activists holding politicians accountable is 11-year-old Mari Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint. Since penning a letter to former president Barack Obama to draw his attention to the Flint water crisis, she has continued to use her voice to bring awareness to the families in her community who have been affected.
She’s vocal on social media, tweeting at politicians when she disagrees with them, including the president, and making sure people are still talking about the Flint water crisis and its long-lasting effects on residents. Additionally, Mari worked with nonprofit Pack Your Back to distribute more than 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students throughout Flint.
Naomi Wadler, 12 When Naomi Wadler stepped onto the stage at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., last year, she gave a voice to young black women who have died from gun violence, including Courtlin Arrington, Hadiya Pendleton, and Taiyania Thompson, who “don’t make the front page of every national newspaper.” She captured the ears and hearts of many who were itching for intersectionality in gun-reform discussions.
Marley Dias, 14 Frustrated by the lack of representation in children’s books, Marley Dias decided to take action. In addition to calling out this problem in literature, the 14-year-old launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive, started her own zine for elle.com, and wrote her own book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!
Kenidra Woods, 18 As an activist for gun reform, Kenidra Woodsfounded the Hope for Humanity Project in response to the gun violence in her community. Kenidra, who appeared on Teen Vogue’s gun control cover, in 2018, is one of several black teens who have fought for black voices to be elevated in the conversation for gun control after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland.
Additionally, Kenidra has been outspoken about her struggle with mental health. The teen, who says she was sexually abused as a young child, started the CHEETAH (confidence, harmony, enlightenment, encouragement, tranquility, awareness, and hope) Movementto help others who have suffered from self-harm and suicidal ideations.
Fatima Jamal, 28Disgusted by the phrase “no fats, no femmes” in LGBTQ+ dating profiles, Fatima Jamal decided to use her voice to speak out. Fatima recently spoke with them. about the difficulty she faced securing funding for a film that explores this topic. The black, trans, independent filmmaker is passionate about fighting the “gay community’s inescapable legacy of white supremacy, and its idealization of certain types of bodies, manners of acting and more,” according to the profile.
Credit: Teen Vogue