A Change Maker is someone who takes a proactive approach to countering hate and creating inclusivity. From campaigning to conversations, tech to town halls, shared meals to sparked movements, they understand that disrupting hate requires interventions at every level of society. Find out how they are addressing hate, bias and discrimination by creating — creating awareness, dialogue, connections, and ultimately real and lasting change — and how you can support their efforts.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America. Learn more.
Marley Dias, the precocious and purpose-driven 14-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! and former Editor in Residence of her own digital 'zine Marley Mag on Elle.com whose successful campaign has garnered over 7 billion media impressions. #1000BlackGirlBooks, is an international movement to collect and donate children’s books that feature Black girls as the lead character. Marley launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive in November of 2015, leveraging the power of social media to reach a larger audience. The goal was to collect 1,000 books featuring Black female protagonists by February 2016. The story went viral and was picked up by media outlets around the world as well as bloggers, schools, youth-focused organizations and millions of individuals who wanted to participate in the project. Marley has collected over 12,000 books to-date. Marley has spoken at the White House's United State of Women alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah, The Forbes Women's Summit, United Nation's Girl Up, Inbound, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the Social Innovation Summit and several others.
In light of the campaign’s huge success, Marley has appeared on Ellen, CBS This Morning, and The Today Show. In her Editor in Residency at ELLE, Marley has interviewed Ava DuVernay, Misty Copeland and Hillary Clinton for Elle.com. Marley has been featured in a Microsoft Commercial and a Disney World Resorts digital campaign. Marley is a 21 under 21 Teen Vogue Ambassador and the youngest member of the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2018. Marley resides in West Orange, NJ with her mother and father. Learn more.
Khalid el-Hakim is the founder and curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, a collection of over 7,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia dating from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era to hip-hop culture. Khalid has been called the "Schomburg of the Hip-Hop generation" because of his passionate commitment to carry on the rich tradition of the Black Museum Movement. He has received national and international attention for his innovative work of exhibiting Black history outside of traditional museum spaces. Most recently Khalid was named one of the 100 Men of Distinction for 2017 by the highly respected business magazine Black Enterprise. The Black History 101 Mobile Museum has exhibited in 34 states at over 300 institutions including: colleges/universities, K-12 schools, corporations, libraries, conferences, and cultural events making it one of the most sought after exhibits of its kind in America. In 2013, Khalid published The Center of the Movement: Collecting Hip Hop Memorabilia, a groundbreaking book on the material artifacts of hip-hop culture. Khalid taught social studies in Detroit for 15 years and is currently a PhD Candidate in the College of Education at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). Learn more.
Jamaica Gilmer is a brilliant example of dreams realized, translated and carried out in real life. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Beautiful Project (TBP), a collective of black women and girls that use photography, writing and care to create and support spaces where we can explore and redefine who we are. Gilmer has a decade-long background creating and implementing provoking images and identity curriculum. Her work as a photographer allows her to capture realities that are often overlooked and misunderstood. Gilmer helms The Beautiful Projects’ curating and organizing efforts in partnership with families, organizations, and institutions. When she is not behind the camera she takes every opportunity to enjoy her longtime sweetheart and their sweet baby boys. A graduate of Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications, she is also a speaker, informing and sharing insight across the nation as a guest lecturer, keynote, and panelist. Jamaica is passionate, bold, and one to watch as a champion for Black girls everywhere. Learn more.
Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults.
Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won an historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. He and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for over 125 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row. They have initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation.
Mr. Stevenson is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.
Mr. Stevenson has launched an ambitious national effort to create new cultural spaces that reflect America’s history of racial injustice. Earlier this year EJI opened a ground-breaking museum built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the most powerful and effective new memorials in a generation." Learn more.
Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy. Our international network of lawyers, activists and supporters achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality; sex trafficking; sexual violence; and harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. Learn more.
Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, was raised in Coral Springs, Florida. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and worked as an educator in the Orange County Public School system for three years. Ms. Poma has built and operated several businesses, most significantly Pulse Nightclub, which was established in 2004 as a tribute to her brother John who passed away from HIV/AIDs.
On June 12, 2016, Pulse Nightclub became the scene of one of the nation’s worst mass shooting in modern American history. Since then, Barbara has shifted her focus to preserving the memory of those who lost their lives, survivors, and their loved ones. She now serves as Executive Director of OnePulse Foundation, Inc. which has been established to oversee a community initiative to create a permanent memorial to Pulse and those who perished. Learn more.
Alana Simmons, 28, of Columbia, SC, is the founding CEO of the non- profit, Hate Won’t Win Movement, Inc. The Hate Won’t Win Movement was founded in June of 2015 after her grandfather, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., along with eight others were murdered in the hate crime known as the “Mother” Emanuel AME Church Massacre in Charleston, SC.
Since then, Alana has dedicated herself to working in communities, churches, schools, and businesses as a motivational speaker and organizer of unity. Alana’s work with the Hate Won’t Win Movement has been awarded and featured by a number of organizations and outlets such as the King Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Essence Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Public Allies, and many others. Learn more.
Captain Paiute: Indigenous Defender of the Southwest is a comic-book series featuring a Native American superhero who understands the unique beauty and challenges of reservation life. While growing up, artist Theo Tso never saw himself or his Native American community reflected in the comic books he loved. When he did encounter native characters, they tended to be a sidekick or a mystic rather than a hero. To help address such restrictive representations, he created Captain Paiute, which helps readers understand the history of the Paiute tribe, while disrupting damaging cultural stereotypes about indigenous people. Learn more.
Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. Over the course of the program, girls will develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. Learn more.
Hello Hijab creates tiny head scarves for dolls to help make playtime more inclusive. Though millions of Muslim women across the world choose to wear the hijab, American children rarely see them in the toys in their homes or classrooms, which can contribute to stigma or reinforce narrow definitions of beauty. By diversifying dolls, founders and local moms Gisele Fetterman and Kristen Michaels aim to empower Muslim children, fight Islamophobia, and inspire all children to embrace difference. All proceeds support organizations that protect and honor multicultural communities. Learn more.
HOODED is a multimedia project designed to disrupt dangerous, negative perceptions of black men and boys. Created by 19-year-old Myles Loftin, the series features four African American teenagers in hooded sweatshirts — a clothing item that has become a cultural shorthand for racialized fears. But in contrast to the standard, ever-present media portrayal of an African American teen in a hoodie as a threat, Loftin’s subjects are joyful, colorful, and a powerful challenge to a set of stereotypes that have grave consequences for black men and boys and for America. Through his art, he aims to open up a broad cultural conversation about the power of identity. Learn more.
Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson are co-founders of Kind Campaign, the nonprofit organization has been operating for over 10 years, committed to put an end to girl-against-girl bullying. In addition to touring schools nationally and giving heartfelt assemblies about the dangers of bullying (leveraging their personal past experiences) and offering interactive, non-judgmental discussions, Lauren and Molly have become leading advocates for kindness - especially among other women. Learn more.
Athlete Ally educates and activates athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports, and to use their platforms to speak out for LGBTQ equality. The program was founded by Hudson Taylor, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland. Since its founding, Athlete Ally has attracted more than 150 professional and Olympic athletes as Ambassadors of the organization; has 50+ college and universities with student-run Athlete Ally chapters; and continues to leverage their partnerships with athletes, teams and leagues to advance their impact on LGBTQ public policy efforts. Learn more.
Chicken & Egg Pictures supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change, creating a space where women can challenge the status quo in film and learn from one another. Founded by Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger, and Judith Helfand, the organization breaks new ground for artists and activists with a shared belief in the power of women storytellers. Over 13 years, the organization has grown into a bold community of artists, mentors, activists, and friends who celebrate each other’s talent and foster one another’s growth in the industry. Learn more.
For over 25 years, activist and advocate Tarana J. Burke has worked at the intersection of racial justice and sexual violence. Fuelled by commitments to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly black women and girls, Tarana has launched initiatives focused on increasing access to resources and support for impacted communities. A proud native of the Bronx, NY, Tarana's passion for community organizing began in the late 1980s when as a young girl, she joined a youth development organization and led campaigns around issues like racial discrimination, housing inequality and economic justice. In 2007, she founded JustBe Inc., an organization committed to the empowerment and wellness of black girls. It was during that time that ‘me too.’ was born as a tool to help heal and provide a safe space for young people to share their stories. Her theory of using empathy to empower survivors is changing the way the world thinks about and engages with survivors. Her belief that healing isn’t a destination but a journey has touched and inspired millions of survivors who previously lived with the pain, shame and trauma of their assaults in isolation. Learn more.
Pathos Labs creates empathy-based virtual reality experiences to challenge assumptions and increase understanding. As the son of Iranian and French immigrants, founder Romain Vakilitabar believes that when we engage with those with whom we might not otherwise interact, perspectives and biases begin to change. Building on the success of its previous experiences, including Strangers and My Beautiful Home, Pathos’ upcoming project, The Other, seeks to do just this. The film and accompanying curriculum bring viewers face-to-face with those who are often treated as “different,” inviting all of us to confront and reconsider the assumptions we make. Learn more.
The Better Arguments Project™ equips Americans to reach across political, cultural, and economic divides to have arguments that bring us closer together instead of driving us further apart. The project centers on the simple idea that America doesn’t need fewer arguments, it needs better arguments. Encouraging people to understand themselves and each other, ask great questions, and learn how to really talk — and listen, this effort has a special focus on reaching high school students. Learn more.
EmbraceRace supports parents and caregivers in raising kids who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race. The organization was founded by Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud, whose experience as social justice workers and educators, and as partners and parents to multiracial children, inspired them to identify, curate, and create the kind of tools they struggled to find for themselves. Through resources, discussions, and networks, EmbraceRace aims to foster resilience in children of color and to nurture cross-racial inclusivity and empathy in all children. By helping grown-ups raise kids who think critically about racial inequity, EmbraceRace supports a multigenerational movement of racial justice advocates. Learn more.
Data For Black Lives (D4BL) inspires people with expertise in science and tech to put their knowledge to work fighting discrimination and promoting equality. The program, co-founded by Yeshimabeit Milner and Lucas Mason-Brown, seeks to build a network of “movement scientists” — scientists, engineers, coders, and mathematicians committed to using data to create measurable, positive change in the lives of black people. D4BL held its inaugural conference at MIT in 2017, with a focus on helping emerging “movement scientists” apply their skills to identify inequalities, accelerate the work of local organizers, and prevent technology from undermining vulnerable communities. Learn more.
Eighteen year old Natalie Hampton is a Stanford freshman, anti-bullying activist, app developer, and the CEO of a non-profit called Sit With Us, Inc. Natalie was severely bullied in middle school, and was forced to eat lunch alone nearly every day. After she switched schools, and quickly fell in with a great friend group, she would invite anyone who was eating alone to join her lunch table. Those people became not only her friends, but friends with everyone in the group, and were invited to social gatherings. She saw that one simple act of kindness made a big difference in their lives. This inspired her to create the award-winning Sit With Us mobile app at age sixteen, which serves as a free lunch planning tool for middle and high school kids so that no one has to eat lunch alone. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends. They can also volunteer to be Sit With Us Ambassadors for their schools and post open lunch events on campus so that anyone looking for a table to join can find one. The app has won numerous awards, has been featured by Apple under “New Apps We Love” in the App Store, has been downloaded by 120,000+ people in eight countries worldwide, and has garnered the attention and acclaim of international media and press. Learn more.
Erin Vilardi is the Founder and CEO of VoteRunLead, the nation’s largest and most diverse training program for women to run for office and win. She first launched VoteRunLead as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project. She has served as a Leadership Development Consultant for clients, including Fortune 100 companies, global girls’ initiatives and the U.S. Department of State, reaching women leaders in a dozen international cities. Vilardi is the co-author of the Athena CORE10© – an innovative set of leadership competencies for 21st-century women leaders based on the latest research and gender analysis for the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. She has appeared on the mainstage at Personal Democracy Forum, on CNN, BBC, and Fox News and her work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, New York Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic articles on women and leadership. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. Learn More.
Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) was founded to help address domestic violence and sexual assault in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Their mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and consequences of family violence and violence against women. CPAF is committed to meeting the specific cultural and language needs of Asian and Pacific Islander women and their families. Their vision is of an Asian and Pacific Islander community that embraces healthy relationships and works in partnership with other communities to eradicate all forms of violence. Learn more.
Amit Paley is CEO of The Trevor Project, guiding the organization in its mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. A passionate social impact leader, he transformed Trevor to operate like a startup, with the staff and tech to support it through a strong growth period.
Amit oversaw the build of a new tech platform that allows Trevor to deliver crisis services via phone, text, chat and social media, and took its digital crisis services 24/7 for the first time in 21 years.
He also dramatically increased the impact of Trevor’s programs. The organization now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy; overhauled TrevorSpace into the largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth; and expanded its research and clinical expertise, hiring the first psychiatrist and psychologists in its history. Learn more
I’m a writer. In February 2019, Graywolf Press published my essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, which became a New York Times bestseller; the Los Angeles Review of Books stated that “Esmé Weijun Wang is poised to become a major writer, and this is her origin story.” My debut novel, The Border of Paradise, has received accolades and kind words from places such as LitHub, NPR Books, and the Chicago Review of Books; I was selected by Granta for their once-a-decade Best of Young American Novelists list of 21 authors under 40, and I received the prestigious Whiting Award in 2018.
I believe in resilience, which forms the backbone of my work at The Unexpected Shape. My enthusiasm for both the practice and the living-out of resilience are borne out by my own daily existence with illness—I choose to live as best as I can, and I encourage others living with chronic illness and other forms of limitation to do the same. To find resources for ambitious people living with limitations, please check out The Unexpected Shape.
Legacy is a tricky beast, but I approach it from the perspective of looking at one’s impact, both big and small. Whether you think much about legacy or not, you are building your legacy every single day. Legacy can be the smile you leave on the cashier’s face when you purchase a tube of hand cream; legacy can also be the published book of your collected works. Learn more.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of more than 500 local affiliates who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. Learn more.
Sue Ann Hong joined the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) May 2018 as the interim Executive Director. She worked at State Farm Insurance Companies for over 28 years in Data Processing, Diversity & Inclusion, Corporate and Auto Claims, where she led up to 600 leaders and employees in supporting customers in 23 states. Her passion for building trusting relationships infuses Sue Ann’s philosophy. A 2002 Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI) National Fellow, she continues her journey as a whole person leader in her belief it’s the journey versus the destination. Her goal is to support CAPAW’s vision to build whole person leaders, one at a time. Learn more.
Rooted in the dreams of immigrants and inspired by the promise of opportunity, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American dream. Our mission is to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Learn more.