Ibtihaj Muhammad: This US fencer has made important strides for Muslim girls everywhere. Muhammad, who fences foil, observes Hijab both on and off the fencing strip and has forwarded the inclusion of conservative dress in both sports and high fashion. In interviews, Muhammad recounts the bullying and teasing she received as a youth and how she hopes the combination of her athleticism and proud faith will inspire other young Muslim and Black girls to push on, no matter what. Recently, the Olympian has partnered with Mattel to create a hijab-wearing Barbie.
Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink: Mink was a Japanese-American US Politician from Hawaii who championed education initiatives during the Bush administration, specifically for young children and women. Among her work are the Early Childhood Education Act and the Women’s Educational Equity Act, both of which sought to ensure that there was adequate funding and management of both important benchmarks of the nation’s education system. Mink also introduced the landmark Title IX of the Higher Education Act. Under Title IX, education institutions that receive federal aid are prohibited from sex discrimination in their spending on activities, including sports. The title also requires that issues pertaining to sexual harassment or assault be handled with the highest importance.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A celebrated Nigerian novelist, lyricst, and author, Chimamanda has long been lauded one of the foremost voices on African feminism in the modern age. She’s been called today’s Chinua Achebe because of her perspicacity into modern femininity and the intersection of tradition, Blackness, and womanhood. Chimamanda has been featured on the smash-hit Beyonce song “Flawless” for her spoken word piece on the meaning of feminism and continues to this day to champion the cause of social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
Malala Yousafzai: The youngest winner of the highly-coveted Nobel Peace Prize, Malala made global headlines when she was shot in the face by members of the Taliban attempting to keep her from obtaining an education. Today, the Oxford student is a fierce advocate for women of all ethnicities and religious to receive an education that provides them information on global history, mathematics, literature, and writing. She also advocates for better refugee inclusion and ensuring proper care and education for those who had to flee their homes for economic, political, or other reasons.
Deaf-initely Dope | A black kid from Atlanta, Matt Maxey was born with significantly reduced hearing and struggled to learn to use his voice and listen to teachers as they transmitted a microphone feed directly into his hearing aid. Maxey didn’t learn sign language until he attended college at Gallaudet University, the nation’s premier institution of higher learning for the deaf and hard of hearing. After dropping out of college, Maxey took on odd jobs to pay the rent, and in his spare time, he filmed himself on a smartphone signing the lyrics to rap and hip hop songs. Slow by slow, Maxey’s efforts picked up steam on the internet, and today, he runs Deafinitely Dope, which helps educate children of color in ASL within the context of modern music. Maxey has also served as an ASL interpreter for international rapping sensation Chance the Rapper and daily helps break the barriers that separate Deaf youth from hip hop culture.
We Rate Dogs | What started as a silly hobby by a bored college student has become a staple of modern cyberspace as we know it. Matt Nelson enrolled at the University of North Carolina with the intention of becoming a golf instructor, but started running a twitter account at @Dog_Rates where he comments on silly dog photos and rates them between a 10 and a 14 out of 10. Today, the “We Rate Dogs” empire includes a merchandise store, two mobile apps, and a well-visited blog. With upwards of 5 million followers eagerly anticipating the next “good boy” he captions, Matt decided to use his platform to help dogs in need. Weekly, Nelson tweets a picture of a dog suffering from some malady with a GoFundMe account where his loyal fans can help support the dog and its family. Matt’s passion for entertaining people and keeping good dogs healthy has lead to a global effort to raise money for sick pups.
This is Raven. She was found under a heap of scrap metal in Saudi Arabia. After bottle feeding her back to health, the human who saved her life wants to bring her home to England. 13/10 click the link below to read their story and help make it happen https://t.co/VdKNHWEkUs pic.twitter.com/EQ3wUgyyc6
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 9, 2018
The Everybody Eats Foundation | In 2016, Kelvin Pena made a video that would change his whole life. A Dominican young adult living in southeastern PA, Kelvin filmed himself feeding the deer at the end of his driveway, giving them names and offering them marshmallows and crackers and declaring that “everybody eats” as he offered a snack to each deer individually. Little did he know that he internet would fall in love with him and his affinity for animals. Since the “Everybody Eats” video went viral, Kelvin has proceeded to make more videos of himself and wild animals becoming friends and enjoying snacks together. With his newfound notoriety and public platform on behalf of animals, Kelvin and his family started the Everybody Eats foundation, which supplies food and support to organizations that help provide food to both animals and humans who are in need. To date, he’s helped support wildlife foundations as well as relief efforts in Puerto Rico.