More than ever, the younger generation–including millennials and Generation Z–is proving to be one of activism. For proof, look no further than these amazing seven young black activists who you are making a positive change — and who you should be following right now.
Jess Guilbeaux (she/her)
Known for being the first lesbian to appear on the hit TV series Queer Eye in Season 3 Episode 5’s “Black Girl Magic,” Jess is also using her Instagram platform of nearly 150,000 followers for social good. From her insights into interracial queer dating during a time of civil unrest to providing some of her favorite mental health resources for the Black community, to raising the importance of queer voices in the context of Black Lives Matter, Jess is using her unique lived experiences to impact lives far and wide. Follow her now on Instagram @jesslayica
Imani Barbarin (she/her)
Imani is a Black disabled woman who is best known for her disability advocacy and sharing her experiences within those identities, as well as how they intersect via social media to over 50,000 followers. An all-too-often ignored but intersectional minority, Imani’s work has brought to light the importance of disability rights in the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly as it relates to health disparities for the Black community. In addition, Barbarin’s work has brought awareness to the issue of police brutality disproportionately affecting people who are disabled, but particularly those who are disabled and black. Follow Imani on Twitter and Instagram at @Imani_Barbarin
Indya Moore (they/them)
Known for their work in FX’s “Pose,” Indya Moore is utilizing their platform to advocate those who have been oppressed by systemic racism–especially raising awareness for Black LGBTQIA+ individuals– and offering resources and ways for their followers to take action. For more on Idaya’s work on the small screen and how you can follow their lead, follow them on Instagram @IndyaMoore
Martese Johnson (he/him)
A victim of police brutality who was wrongfully arrested and jailed in 2015 on suspicion of a fake ID, Martese is an outspoken Black activist and law student at the University of Michigan. Johnson, who is attending law school to pursue racial justice, compiled a Google doc with a great list of anti-racist resources, which you can find in the embedded tweet below. For more information about Martese and his work, follow him on Twitter @martesejohnson_
For folks looking to contribute to and/or self-educate on anti-racism work. https://t.co/vivXVyIHcm
— Martese R. Johnson (@martesejohnson_) May 29, 2020
Amandla Stenberg (she/her)
Known for her work in films like “The Hunger Games” and “The Hate U Give,” Amanda uses her social media to both highlight important causes in the Black community allowing others to get involved and have difficult conversations with those who are White or call themselves allies.
“I notice there’s a tendency for White people to differentiate themselves from ‘racists’ as if racism is something you unequivocally do or don’t participate in when in reality it’s a structure and a spectrum we all exist within,” with a photo that segregation is something that was only stopped as we know it one generation ago, in 1954, and that there is still much work to be done. For more on Amanda, her work in film, and her activism, follow her on Instagram at @amandlastenberg
Nupol Kiazolu (she/her)
Nupol organized her first protest at 13, and now at 20, is making incredible waves in activism. In addition to being the President of the Youth Coalition of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, she has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper and been on the frontlines in Minneapolis as well as other cities. Nupol is just one of countless examples of the resilience and power of young people who continue to inspire–and give hope for the future. You can follow Nupol on Instagram at @nupol_justice
Lonnie Chavis (he/him)
Known for his standout role in NBC’s “This Is Us” at just 12, Lonnie opened up about what it’s like to experience racism in an incredibly emotional essay written for People Magazine.
“My life matters, but does it? America paints a very clear picture of how I should view myself. America shows me that my Blackness is a threat, and I am treated as such,” writes Chavis in a way that’s stunningly matter-of-fact.
He goes on to tell a heartbreaking story of when he was racially profiled in a restaurant in San Diego.
“I was racially profiled at a restaurant in San Diego while visiting one of my young Black costars. Her Black cousins and I were accused by a young white girl working the cash register of trying to steal the few tips in her tip cup. It was a huge ordeal that almost led to police being called on us while we were with our parents — until some wonderful fan who happened to be white told them that I was a professional actor on two television series currently airing and argued that he doubted I would need to steal her few dollars. My mother never played the “he’s an actor” card. She definitely knew and argued that we were being targeted merely because we were a group of young Black children. Can you imagine someone thinking you are a thief just because of the color of your skin? I can.”
This Is Us Star Lonnie Chavis, 12, Shares His Experiences with Racism: ‘America Needs to Change’ https://t.co/l9xYB8txrN
— Lonnie Chavis (@LonnieChavis) June 17, 2020