This was originally published by Campus Progress and is re-posted here with its permission.
Black History Month usually focuses on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. But young black activists are making a difference today. Here are just a few you should know about.
1. Marvelyn Brown
At the age of 19, Marvelyn Brown contracted HIV/AIDS. She remained upbeat while battling her illness, and traveled around the world to share her story. In 2008, she published her autobiography, Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive. Since then, Brown has become the CEO and Independent HIV Consultant for Marvelous Connections and an ambassador for the Greater Than AIDS Campaign.
2. Darius Weems
As a teenager with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Darius Weems had never left his hometown of Athens, Ga. With the help of friends and a counselor at Project REACH, a youth and adult-run, multiracial, multi-gender, grassroots, anti-discrimination, youth organizing center, he took a cross-country trip to Los Angeles, hoping that he might get his wheelchair revamped on the MTV show, Pimp My Ride. His trip was documented in the documentary film Darius Goes West, which helped raise awareness of disability rights and the need for wheelchair accessibility across the nation.
3. Zim Ugochukwu
Zim Ugochukwu is a senior at University of North Carolina–Greensboro and founded her own organization, Ignite Greensboro, which seeks to engage young people in their communities. Ugochukwu started the organization to open the International Civil Rights Center and Museum to remember the Greensboro sit-ins that were instrumental to the civil rights movement. Ugochukwu has been named one of Glamour’s 20 Amazing Young Women and won an award for her activism from Campus Progress in 2010.
4. Bryant Terry
Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., Bryant Terry learned to appreciate the cultivation of good food; he soon became an eco-chef and food activist. In 2002, Terry founded b-healthy!, a project encouraging youth to create a more sustainable food system. He “has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections of poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity,” according to his website.