28 Black Leaders in the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

Equality
February 24, 2021
  1. Sojourner Truth—is the first black woman to win a legal case against a white man. Her “Ain’t I A Woman” speech is still used frequently as a reminder to feminists to be inclusive and intersectional.
  2. Michelle Obama — is the first black First Lady of the United States. She repeatedly used her spotlight to advocate for gender equality.
  3. bell hooks — is a feminist whose writing explored, and inspired a movement of exploration around, the changing dynamics of race, gender, class, and capitalism.
  4. Phillis Wheatley — published the first book of poetry by a Black woman and she was also the first Black woman to make a living from her writing.
  5. Phill Wilson — has been a leader in assisting the Black community in its fight against AIDS. He founded the Black AIDS Institute in 1999.
  6. Roxane Gay — is a black feminist writer that has brought issues concerning sexual assault, eating disorders, ableism and more into discussion.
  7. Kimberle Crenshaw — her race and gender theories around intersectionality are fundamental to today’s understanding of civil rights. She actively contributes as an authority on Black legal theory.
  8. Audre Lorde — described herself as a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and fiercely fought locally and internationally to bring freedom to those who identify as any of those.
  9. Laverne Cox — is a committed equal rights activist who broke ground by becoming one of the first transgender women to be nominated for an Emmy.
  10. Ava DuVernay — has advocated for equal rights in her films, with her documentary “13th” bringing much-needed public attention to racism in the criminal justice system.
  11. Maya Angelou — is a poet, author, and civil rights activist whose writing highlighted the oppression and empowerment of Black people.
  12. Alice Walker — is most known for her novel The Color Purple, but her social activism goes well beyond that. Her art regularly focuses on African American women and their struggles.
  13. Oprah Winfrey— is one of the most influential women in history. She is a philanthropist who frequently brings mainstream light to the battles Black women face.
  14. Janet Mock — is a trans rights activist who has publicly explained how her genital reconstruction surgery was healthy to her identity as a Black trans woman.
  15. Tarana Burke — is the originator of the #MeToo movement. She is a tireless fighter for sexual violence awareness, with extra attention paid to young girls in BIPOC communities.
  16. Angela Davis — has sacrificed her career and voice multiple times to be an advocate for racial equity and other forms of healthy social change. She is a leader in many movements for social justice.
  17. Toni Morrison — is a Nobel Prize winner who brings to life the struggles of the Black American family. Her writing focuses on themes of racial discrimination and misogynistic culture.
  18. James Baldwin — was an openly gay author who write emotionally and accurately about the experience of Black LGBT people in New York in the mid twentieth century. His eloquent prose provoked an understanding in readers of the bleakness many Black Americans faced.
  19. Ron Oden — set a first when he was elected as an openly gay African American mayor. This opened the door for other minorities to have similar opportunities.
  20. Marsha P Johnson — was one of the principal Stonewall organizers and consistently advocated for LGBTQ rights at a time when discrimination was everywhere and violent.
  21. Alicia Garza — is a cofounder of the International Black Lives Matter Movement which is bringing racial disparity to light across the world. She has focused on gender-specific issues such as domestic worker rights and stopping violence against trans people.
  22. Nikki Giovanni — is a Black poet who is able to powerfully portray the social injustice of racism. She was a leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement.
  23. Ruha Benjamin — is a sociologist and the author of “Race After Technology”, a book that explores how technology is impacting Black Americans.
  24. Lena Waithe — is the first Black woman to win an Emmy in the category of writing in a comedy series. She’s a proponent of the LGBTQ community and strives for representation in film and TV for queer people of color.
  25. Amanda Gorman — is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history who uses her poetry to dive deeper into issues like racial disparities, feminism, and America’s history.
  26. Halle Berry — uses her platform to speak about her own experience with family domestic violence. She advocates for the nonprofit the Jenesse Center, which helps victims of domestic violence.
  27. William Gay — is a NFL cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers who lost his mother to domestic violence at a young age. He uses his platform to constantly speak up about this prevalent issue.
  28. Rihanna — is a music legend, business slayer, and survivor of gender-based violence. She users her platform and her charity, Clara Lionel Foundation, to advocate for young women.

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