In today’s world, social media plays many roles—it’s a source of news, a tool for learning, a space to share stories, and a vehicle for connecting and organizing with other people.
And throughout the past few weeks, it has played all of those roles in the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Millions have spoken out against the injustices inflicted on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. People have also begun to challenge themselves, their behaviors, and the behaviors of those around them. They have started to educate themselves further on anti-racism, their own privilege, and the issues that Black people have been facing for hundreds of years.
If you find yourself wondering how you can work to become a better ally but you aren’t sure where to start, keep reading for a list of inspirational Black voices—influencers, authors, public speakers, and more—who are dedicated to speaking out and educating the world on these issues.
1. Rachel E. Cargle
Rachel E. Cargle is an academic, writer, lecturer, and activist whose work explores the intersection of race and womanhood through intellectual discourse, tools, and resources. She’s also a dynamic entrepreneur. In 2018, Rachel raised funds in an effort to help Black women and girls gain access to mental health care. In several months, her social media community raised a quarter of a million dollars—and The Loveland Foundation was born.
You can join Rachel’s 1.7 million followers on Instagram.
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Good morning 🌞 I woke up this morning thinking of revolution. Head to the link in my bio to RSVP. • Thinking about what our ancestors and past leaders left for us. What tools and direction and foresight they offered. • When James Baldwin reminded us: “It is a very peculiar revolution because, in order to succeed at all, it has to have as its aim the reestablishment of the Union. And a great, radical shift in American mores, in the American way of life. Not only does it apply to the Negro, obviously, but it applies to every citizen in the country. This is a very tall order and desperately dangerous, but inevitable in my view because of the nature of the American Negro’s relationship to the rest of the country, of all these generations, and the attitudes the country’s had toward him, which always was, but now has become overtly and concretely, intolerable. • When Malcolm X made clear: “Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.” • When Fannie Lou Hammer started: “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement — three people is better than no people” • When Nikki Giovanni explained: “We put our lives on the line because we understand that our lives were always on the line.” • When Angela Davis said, ““I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” • I’ll be giving a Public Address on Revolution this upcoming Saturday evening. If you’d be interested in hearing my words and my teachings please use the link in my bio to RSVP and you’ll receive the viewing details Saturday afternoon. • This live address will include my official response to the brutality happening to black bodies in the US. I will be pulling from the words of revolutionaries before us. I will be offering resources for action and highlighting the movement on the ground so that we all can show up in revolutionary ways. • I’m looking forward to being in conversation and community with you all. • TL:DR – the revolution is coming, RSVP link in bio. • Will I see you there? • #revolutionnow
2. Johnetta Elzie
Johnetta Elzie was one of the leading forces behind the 2015 Ferguson protests, and is cited as a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, a front-runner in the 21st century’s civil rights movement, and one of the world’s most inspiring modern leaders. She is an activist and writer whose work has had a far-reaching impact on the world we live in. She co-edits a newsletter called This Is The Movement, runs a protest group called We The Protestors, and co-founded Campaign Zero, a platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.
3. Angela Benton
Angela Benton is a pioneer of diversity in the technology industry—specifically in Silicon Valley’s tech and startup worlds. In 2011, she founded NewME, the first global accelerator for minorities. Through her leadership, NewME accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping the nascent companies to raise over $47 million in venture capital funding. Prior to that, she launched BlackWeb 2.0 in 2007, a multimedia platform that filled a much-needed void by becoming a vital nexus for African Americans interested in technology.
2/ The top VC firms in Silicon Valley are a sea of whiteness. That’s the problem… yet we should trust that now all of a sudden #Blacklivesmatter and you will deploy capital to Black Founders? 🤔 You can’t even hire Black people on your TEAM. Case in point:
— Angela Benton (@ABenton) June 10, 2020
4. Charlene Carruthers
Charlene Carruthers is a political strategist, writer, and leading community organizer in today’s movement for Black liberation. She is the founding national director of Black Youth Project 100, the founder of the Chicago Center for Leadership and Transformation, and the author of the book Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice, and civil rights campaigns nationwide.
5. Layla F. Saad
Layla F. Saad is a bestselling author, anti-racism educator, international speaker, and host of the Good Ancestor podcast. She speaks frequently on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation, and social change. Her debut book, Me and White Supremacy, is all about recognizing your privilege, combatting racism, changing the world, and becoming a good ancestor.
You can follow Layla on Instagram.
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These two photos were taken today. The first was at 11.30am as I waited to speak to @bbcnews. The second was just a little while ago (7.30pm local time) after finishing a call with @americanwritersmuseum. I’ve had four media interviews today. Eight interviews this week. More interviews coming over the weekend and next week. I am exhausted. I’m also grateful. ••• I’m grateful for my husband who’s making sure I eat and drink water. Grateful for my family who are checking in with me and cheering me on every step of the way. Grateful for my friends who are holding space for me. Grateful to @anahi.theselfworthcoach who dropped off a self-care package for me yesterday. Grateful for my kids and their patience with me in this moment. Grateful for messages from strangers who are checking in, reminding me to take care of myself, praying for me, respecting my boundaries, thanking me for my voice. Grateful to God for the complexity and grace of this moment. ••• I started talking about white supremacy in 2017. The first article I ever wrote about racism went viral. And I wasn’t ready for the work then. The white fragility, emotional labour, heartbreak and racism was just too much. Three years later, and I’m ready now. It seems more white people are ready now too. ••• Everyone who knows me, who knows my heart, who has seen me in my most vulnerable moments, knows that this work is not easy for me. Being in the spotlight as an unapologetic and outspoken Black Muslim woman who does not fit into anyone’s boxes is not easy. But now I know that it is precisely me being who I AM – and not who others want me to be – that makes me designed for this work. MY work. It took me more than 3 decades to find my purpose. But I’m here now. And my ancestors living and transitioned, familial and societal, are here with me too.
6. Minda Harts
Minda Harts is the founder of The Memo, a career development company for women of color. Her new book The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, provides a no-BS look at the odds stacked against women of color in professional settings, from the wage gap to biases and microaggressions. She is also the host of a podcast, #SecureTheSeat, that shares the stories of everyday women of color as they lean into a workforce that isn’t always invested in their success.
If a company says Black Lives Matter—make sure the black lives in your company and organizations feel like they matter too. It starts in house.
— Minda Harts (@MindaHarts) June 16, 2020
7. Reni Eddo-Lodge
Reni Eddo-Lodge is an award-winning journalist, author, and podcaster. She is perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed debut non-fiction book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which explores issues ranging from whitewashed feminism to the link between class and race. Her podcast, About Race, looks to take the conversation a step further featuring key voices in anti-racist activism.
Hello all. Monday is the third anniversary of the publication of WHY I’M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE. I was going to save saying some thing until then, as I’m on a social media hiatus, but urgent circumstances have drawn me back.
— Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renireni) May 30, 2020
8. Brittany Packnett Cunningham
Brittany Packnett Cunningham is an activist, educator, writer, and leader at the intersection of culture and justice. She is an NBC News and MSNBC Contributor and former Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics exploring social change and intersectional activism. She was an appointed member of the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Today, she continues to advocate for urgent systemic change at critical decision-making tables and through national and international media.
The resources, time, energy and urgency that has gone into protecting capital has never been applied to protecting Black lives in America.
Not just because they don’t care.
Because the use and destruction of Black lives has been *central to creating the capital.*
— brittany packnett cunningham does not do remixes. (@MsPackyetti) June 1, 2020
9. Alishia McCullough
Alishia McCullough is a mental health therapist, author, and self-love promoter. She speaks frequently about Black feminism, race, body justice, and anti-diet culture. Recently, she co-founded the #AmplifyMelanatedVoices challenge on Instagram. Alishia is also the founder of The Holistic Black Healing Collective, which is an online collective centered around the healing and community of Black and brown people.
You can follow Alishia on Instagram.
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Since co-founding the #Amplifymelanatedvoices challenge I have grown to over 242K followers, most of whom are new! Therefore I figured that it is time for a proper introduction 🎤 • My name is Alishia McCullough (she, her). I was born and raised in the southern state of North Carolina. Growing up and living in the south has had a huge impact on the ways that I show up in my identities. I identify as Black with a capital “B”, a cis woman, and as someone of low socio-economic status. I am also a millennial and a descendent of enslaved people ✊🏽 • I am a writer and published author, and have been writing short stories and poetry since I was a little girl. As a first generation college student, I hold three professional degrees, a licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Therapist, and a National Certified Counselor certification. I am also the founder of The Holistic Black Healing Collective, which is an online collective centered around the healing and community of black and brown people. ✍🏾 • As a justice seeker, I am passionate about social justice and body liberation. I am working towards the decolonization of the mind, and everything around me, including Mental Health Therapy. I primarily work with eating disorders, exploring their impact on QTBIPOC and ways that our care can encompass our wholeness 💪🏽 • I initially created this page as a way to network with other providers in my area. In deciding that I wanted to share my lived experiences authentically, I said f*ck that. I stopped censoring myself, deciding that I would use my writing as a way to reach others with similar experiences, putting language to our collective traumas and ways of healing. 👏🏽 • I stand by the Maori proverb that says, “My success is not mine alone, it is that of the collective”. This quote helps me remember that as I grow, I am not alone, there are countless other women and ancestors that have paved my way. I know that their legacy lives within me, they are cheering me on, and that one day our voices will unite and continue to cheer on the next woman. 🙏🏾
10. Mireille Cassandra Harper
Mireille Cassandra Harper is a writer, assistant editor, publicist, and contributor to @girlsletstalk__, a place for womxn to learn, educate, inspire, and connect. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Mireille has been campaigning, fighting for equality, and supporting and working with Black-owned organizations for years. She recently created a 10-step guide for those who want to support and be an ally to the Black community that went viral on social media.
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Social media has been a bit overwhelming since I first put up this post so it has taken some time for me to post this. On Friday, I shared this content on Twitter after I felt the conversations online were like screaming into an echo chamber. I wanted to provide those who wanted to support and be an ally with practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. I am still somewhat surprised and overwhelmed by the reception so please take patience with me at this time. — For a note on who I am to those who have followed me from Twitter, my name is Mireille. I’m an assistant editor and I do freelance writing, PR and sensitivity reading and other bits on the side. I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, and everything I have shared is not new knowledge to me. From as far back as I can remember I’ve been campaigning, fighting for equality and supporting and working with black owned organisations. I have worked in the diversity and inclusion space for around four years and I have been equipped with knowledge, skills etc through that work as well as through wider, intensive reading and being raised by a Jamaican mother who has a degree in Women’s Studies. I felt as a mixed race person who was emotionally capable despite the current situation that I could use my learned experience, skills and compassion to offer this advice to allies and anyone else who was seeking advice but didn’t know where to turn. This is now on my stories as a highlight so please feel free to share from there or here. — A small reminder that this took emotional labour and POC, especially black people are not here to teach you everything. When I said ask how you can support, I meant on a personal level as a friend etc. I hope this toolkit provides you with the starter info you need but there are genuinely people more experienced than me who warrant your listening to – please go and follow @nowhitesaviors, @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @ckyourprivilege, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @renieddolodge, @ibramxk + a few more: @akalamusic, @katycatalyst + @roiannenedd who all have books or resources from many more years of experience. _