12 (Of The Many) Black Changemakers Making History *RIGHT NOW*
February is Black History Month – a month to honor and celebrate the many Black humans who have done and currently ARE doing profound and powerful things for the world. However, Black voices should be recognized and amplified all year round, not just February. So we put together this list of a dozen Black changemakers using their voices for awe-inspiring, life-changing forces that all of us at Wholesome Culture encourage you to follow, learn from, and be inspired by — this month and beyond.
Note: this is a (very) non-exhaustive list of Black changemakers. There are so many extraordinary Black humans doing incredible work. Please let us know in the comments who is inspiring you so we can keep expanding this list.
12 (Of The Many) Black Changemakers Making History *RIGHT NOW*
1. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States
“My mother had a saying: ‘Kamala you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.’” ~ Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States
Vice President Kamala Harris is not only the first woman, but also the first Black and first South Asian American to be the VP of the United States. Read more about the Vice President’s background and the events that led her to where she is today, here.
2. Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate
“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it; if only we’re brave enough to be it.” ~ Amanda Gorman
The youngest inaugural poet in the U.S. — Amanda Gorman endlessly inspires us with her powerful, fierce, and profound words. We’re forever in awe of her voice and the way she uses it to spread compassion and courage. Read Gorman’s full “The Hills We Climb” poem, here.
3. Claudia Rankine, Author and Poet
“In many conversations I realize that the thing that’s being said is really not the point at all.” ~ Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine is a poet, author, and professor at Yale. Her book Citizen: An American Lyric won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry, and was the first book in the award’s history to be nominated in both poetry and criticism. After you read Citizen, we highly recommend picking up her other book, Just Us.
4. Kellee Edwards, Journalist and TV Host
“Whatever it is that speaks to your soul, do that. Whatever speaks to your passions, revel in that. Whatever speaks to you in your dreams, make THAT your reality.” ~ Kellee Edwards
Kellee Edwards is the first Black woman to host a travel show. She’s an experienced scuba diver, licensed pilot, and expert when it comes to all things traveling. Read more about Edwards and her many travels, here.
5. Jessica Nabongo, Traveler and Entrepreneur
“Travel is fundamentally a part of who I am.” ~ Jessica Nabongo
Another Black woman making travel history, Jessica Nabongo is the first documented Black woman to travel to every country in the world. She’s also the founder of a lifestyle brand and luxury boutique travel firm. Follow her many adventures @thecatchmeifyoucan
6. Jason Wright, NFL Team President
“Once people believe that you will do what you say, know what you’re talking about, are personally connected to them and not our own aims, you start to have a family.” ~ Jason Wright
Jason Wright is the first Black president of a National Football League team. He also played in seven NFL seasons for four teams and had a thriving career in business. Read more about him and his work, here.
7. Aicha Evans, CEO
“If you want to be a leader, people are most important – have a service mentality to your teams, as opposed to a boss mentality.” ~ Aicha Evans
Aicha Evans is the first Black woman to run a self-driving car company, Zoox. She was also named in Business Insider’s list 100 people transforming business. Stay up to date on her journey by following her on Twitter @Aicha2Evans.
8. Noah Harris, 21, student body President at Harvard University
“I hope the message is that Black men, and young African Americans in general, belong at these universities. That they can be from Mississippi. And to not be deterred from applying to [schools like] Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford. That they can belong in these spaces. And not only can they belong, but they can thrive.” Noah Harris (Read the full CNBC interview here.)
Noah Harris is the first Black man to be student body president at Harvard. He also wrote a children’s book Successville about pursuing your dreams with hard work and persistence. Buy it on Amazon, here.
9. Mikaela Loach, Climate Justice and Anti-Racism Activist
“We don’t live in a ‘broken system’. We live in a system that has been specifically designed to benefit some people and harm others. Calling it a ‘broken system’ just allows those in power to evade responsibility and blame. It just holds us back from creating real change.” ~ Mikaela Loach
Podcast host, writer, and activist, Mikaela Loach is using her voice to not only promote anti-racism and climate justice, but also show how they are inherently interconnected. We highly recommend listening to her podcast The Yikes Podcast and reading her poem “Soft Black Girl.”
10. Rachel Lindsay Abasolo, Media Personality and Attorney
“You have to desire to be different and better within your heart first and then your actions will follow your heart’s aspirations.” Rachel Lindsay Abasolo (quote from her blog, Honestly Rach)
You may know Rachel Lindsay as the first Black lead on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” And that’s true. But she’s also a TV host on MTV Ghosted and correspondent on ExtraTV, podcast host on Higher Learning and Bachelor Happy Hour, and owner of Fan Controlled Football. Follow her many entrepreneurial endeavors at her IG @TheRachLindsayand read her blog Honestly Rach.
11. Laverne Cox, Actor and Trans Activist
“Everyone is a complicated human being, and everyone is strong and weak and funny and scared.” ~ Laverne Cox
Best known for starring in Orange Is The New Black — Laverne Cox made history being the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. She also was the first openly trans woman to be on the cover of Cosmopolitan (in 2018). Check out LaverneCox.com for updates on her many projects and products.
12. Omowale Adewale, Black VegFest Founder and Vegan Activist
“I realised along the way in my personal journey that it was unnecessary to eat animals because I was excelling and feeling great without animal products.” ~Omowale Adewale
The founder of Black VegFest, Omowale Adewale is continually using his voice to address the lack of plant-based options in communities of color, and celebrate Black unity, veganism, and animal rights. Plus, check out his book Brotha Vegan, which is set to release this month.