Black History Month: Young, Fierce Girl Advocates
February marks Black History Month and here at GEN we decided to honor 10 black girls who are making a big difference in their communities. We are #GENspired by their talent, advocacy, and hard work. Here’s your daily dose of #BlackGirlMagic.
Amandla Stenberg: 17-year-old Amandla Stenberg is an actress and activist. Stenberg is best known for her role as Rue in the first “Hunger Games” movie, but has recently been making a name for herself by speaking up on intersectional feminism and other issues that affect the black community. She’s been featured in a variety of magazines, talk shows, websites for her passion about black girls.
“Be yourself on the most genuine level.”
Marley Dias: Eleven-year-old Marley Dias started her very own book drive where she plans on collecting 1,000 books that have black female protagonists. It all started when Marley told her mom that she was tired of reading books about white male protagonists and their dogs. When her mom asked her what she was going to do about it, Marley started her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. All books will be donated to Retreat Primary and Junior School and library in Jamaica’s St. Mary Parish, where her mother grew up.
“Anyone can change the world however they want for the better! This book drive is supposed to inspire bigger change.”
Mo’ne Ikea Davis: Fourteen-year-old Mo’ne Akea Davis has accomplished quite and extensive lists of firsts. In 2014, she became the first to girl to pitch a winning game in the Little League World Series. She was also the first African-American girl to ever play in the Little league World Series. On top of that, she was the first Little League baseball player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Although her arm is 15% short than a Major League a baseball player’s, Davis is still able to pitch balls at a speed of over 70 miles per hour.
“I throw 70 miles per hour. That’s throwing like a girl.”
Yara Shahidi: Shahidi is an actress and social activist who inspires young women to exceed academically. She recently won the N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for Best Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role in ABC’s show “black-ish”. She has also been recognized by the N.A.A.C.P. for commitment to service and scholarship. She has worked with organizations dedicated to gender equality like UN Women and the Young Women’s Leadership Network, an organization that empowers students to break the cycle of poverty through education.
“Never jeopardize who you are for a role.”
Asia Newson: Asia Newson, also known as Super Business Girl, is one of Detroit’s youngest entrepreneurs. At just 11 years old, Newson owns her own candle making business under the name Super Business Girl. She started the business at the age of 5 when her father taught her how to make candles. She has been featured on programs such as NPR, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was a Keynote Speaker for TEDxDetroit.
Her mission is to “recognize the true potential in every child and to develop intrinsic security that makes optimum use of their individualized talent.”
Quvenzhane Wallis: At the age of 9, Wallis became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actress category for her role as Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Wallis has gone on to star in several films such as the critically acclaimed “12 Years a Slave.” She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in her role as Annie, in the “Annie” movie. At just 12 years old, Wallis has won over 15 awards for her incredible acting skills.
“If I have to be fierce, I’ll be fierce.”
Gabby Douglas: 20-year-old Gabby Douglas is an artistic gymnast. During the 2012 Olympics, Douglas became the first African American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around gold medalist champion. In 2012 the Associated Press named her Athlete of the Year. Outside of the Olympics, Douglas has won several other awards and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 2012. She’s currently preparing to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“You just have to be yourself, and go full of confidence, and be courageous.”
Mikaila Ulmer: At just 10-years-old, Mikaila Ulmer is already the CEO of her company, BeeSweet Lemonade.The Austin native got the idea for BeeSweet when she was stung by a bee, twice in one week. The beestings encouraged Ulmer to do research on bees, and after realizing their importance to our ecosystem, she founded her company to promote the wellbeing of the insects. Ulmer recently received a $60,000 investment to further her business.
“Saving the bees is something I have a passion for; it needs to be done.”
Amiya Alexander: 15-year-old Amiya Alexander is promoting exercise and physical wellness in her hometown of Detroit with her Mobile Dance Academy. The academy is for students ages 2-12 and provides dance lessons in salsa, hip-hop, ballet, tap, and jazz. While the average dance class can cost more than $60, Alexander’s dance classes cost $11.50, and even provides scholarships for those who cannot afford it. Alexander, who has been dancing since she was two-years-old, runs the dance classes in her bus, which she drives all around Detroit.
“I want to help children who can’t afford dance lessons and teach them how to dance. You have to believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”
Grace Bush: Grace Bush dreams of being a Supreme Court Justice, and she’s already on her way to achieving her goal. The 16-year-old recently graduated from high school and college, at the same time. Bush completed her school coursework on an accelerated schedule, and went on to work on her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in Spanish from a South Florida university. Bush draws inspiration from her parents who were never able to attend high school. She started working on her master’s degree this fall.
“I think anyone can do what I did. It’s not hard, just hard work.”
Photos courtesy of: wikimedia and youtube.