“All my work is meant to say, “You may encounter defeats, but you must not be defeated.” Maya Angelou
Establishing change comes from breaking down barriers and building on the successes of those who came before. Social justice is one of the catalysts for change and self-improvement. There are countless African American women within our society who are working to allow other women to realize their dreams in this country. The magic of these women, who have tirelessly fought to ensure equal rights for all, has been released and is bearing direct light upon the lives of everyone within our society. Often times the realization of their dreams and the magic of their presence is stymied by race, gender, and social politics. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate the women warriors fighting for social justice.
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi: These three women who have backgrounds in domestic workers rights, anti-police violence, and immigration rights met through Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD), a national organization that trains community organizers. They founded the Black Lives Matter movement on the internet as a sociopolitical media forum, using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. They did this in response to Trayvon Martin’s murder.
Brittany Packnett: She is vice president of national community alliances for Teach for America and a co-founder of Campaign Zero. She was a member of President Barack Obama's 21st Century Policing Task Force. Packnett also served as executive director for Teach for America in St. Louis. She was recognized in 2015 as one of the 12 New Faces of Black Leadership. She was motivated to become more active after the murder of Michael Brown and she became a prominent protester in Ferguson.
Angela Rye: Named after Angela Yvonne Davis, a scholar and activist who was well known for her work in tandem with the Black Panther Party, Angela Rye always knew she had activism in her blood. Rye is a lawyer by trade and is the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm. She is well known as a prominent strategist. She has offered commentary on TV for several media outlets including BET, CNN, NBC, HBO, ABC, MSNBC, and TV One. She currently serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBCPAC). Rye previously served as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress.
Beverly Bond: The founder and CEO of Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond has blazed paths in music, entertainment, social entrepreneurship, and social advocacy. Black Girls Rock is a celebration to empower black women to lead, innovate, and serve. This event is championed by Mary J Blige, Rihanna, and Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. Bond believes the Black Girls Rock movement will shift the paradigm of black women in society. Beverly Bond is a trailblazer that is the living the definition that when empowered, Black Girls do Rock!
Nessa Diab: Nessa Diab is a radio and TV personality. She is also the girlfriend of former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. She is an advocate for social activism. Along with Kaepernick, she leads the Know Your Rights Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about higher education and self-empowerment.
Majora Carter: Majora Carter is a leading urban revitalization strategy consultant and real estate developer. She won a Peabody Award in broadcasting. Carter is responsible for the creation and implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and, job training and placement systems. She is a major advocate for the green initiatives in poor and low-income communities across the country. In her 2006 Ted Talk Greening the Ghetto, Carter talked about her fight environmental justice in South Bronx.
During Women’s History Month, we salute these women and other women blazing trails in the name of social justice.