3 Modern Female Activists Spreading Wisdom on Twitter
During Women’s History Month, the world takes time to recognize the trailblazing women of history who paved the way for modern society. While it’s important to celebrate the accomplishments and legacies of influential women like Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Harriet Tubman, it’s equally important to celebrate and learn from the women who are a part of history in the making. All over the world, brave and outspoken women are campaigning for change on some of the most fundamental human issues. It is from these modern women that we can draw inspiration to catalyze change within our own communities.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we put together a short list of modern female activists and leaders to follow and support in 2018. These women have helped to spark unique dialogues around racism and sexism in America, providing perspectives of racial minorities and underrepresented groups and challenging women (and men!) to stand up and take action in a time when it’s all too easy to feel disappointed and grow complacent.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you “it’s really a class problem. Race has little to do with it anymore.”— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) March 19, 2018
Issa lie, fam.
Brittany Packnett is an activist and educator from St. Louis. When unarmed teenager Mike Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in 2014, she took center stage to protest police brutality in Ferguson. Since then, she has been an influential voice in the fight against police brutality and the promotion of social justice and equality.
Brittany Packnett has had a long string of accomplishments. She serves as vice president of national community alliances for Teach for America, acts as a member of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and is a co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform for police reform. Credentials aside, what’s truly inspiring about Brittany Packnett is her way of unapologetically acting according to her beliefs. For example, in 2016, she stated in an interview with the New York Times that she didn’t think Hillary Clinton had the ability to solidify the vote of black millennial voters, voicing her concern that young black voters wanted more than “a candidate who is better than the alternative.” While she officially supported Clinton a few months later, it was refreshing to see someone in a fairly political position speak the truth instead of “playing politics” for personal gain.
Stay Connected: Keep up with Brittany on Twitter
Linda Sarsour is a similarly unapologetic activist. Hailing from Brooklyn, Sarsour has gained national attention through her work to defend civil rights of American Muslims since the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and acted as co-chair of the National Women’s March in 2016.
Through her career as an activist, Sarsour has faced serious challenges, including criticism for her Muslim faith and pro-Palestine stance, as well as death threats that required her to seek the protection of personal bodyguards. Nonetheless, she is strong-willed and stands firm in her mission to fight for underrepresented communities that are consistently overlooked by the government and under attack by the authorities.
Sarsour acknowledges that she’s quite different from the typical leaders in political activism, stating in a New York Times interview: “I’m Muslim, I’m Palestinian, I’m a woman in a hijab. I’m everything they stand against.” Instead of becoming discouraged by the slew of threats and criticism, Sarsour leverages that animosity, using it to propel her efforts to fight for the voices of people who don’t get to be at the forefront of the political debate.
Stay Connected: Keep up with Linda on Twitter
In a 5 week span, a school system had no heating in Jan., shootings in various schools,walkouts,questionable practices inflating grad. rates and a statewide teachers' strike. So many dots to connect about race, economics, and state failure to ensure a quality education to youth.— Dr. Marcia Chatelain (Tweets are Mine) 🇭🇹 (@DrMChatelain) February 22, 2018
Marcia Chatelain is a history and African American studies professor at Georgetown University. In addition to being an educator, she is also an “educator’s educator.” After Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson, she created the Twitter campaign, #FergusonSyllabus, in order to help students of all ages access materials to learn about the context of the Ferguson crisis, including the history of the criminal justice system, racial and socioeconomic segregation of American cities, and, more broadly, racism in America.
The impact of Chatelain’s movement to crowdsource articles related to Ferguson and its deep-rooted history is multifaceted. On one hand, by starting conversations, encouraging dialogue, and sharing teaching materials, she paved a way for educators across the country to address issues of race in their classrooms. While acknowledging that race is an uncomfortable subject for many educators to address, Chatelain believed that staying silent about issues like police brutality is a way of perpetuating the problem. Additionally, Chatelain showed the country that you don’t need to be a prominent public figure in order to speak up and catalyze change. As responsible citizens and allies to those who are underrepresented, we must be vocal about the issues affecting our society, and #FergusonSyllabus is a reminder of the agency we have to do so.
Stay Connected: Keep up with Marcia on Twitter