10 Black Leaders Shaping the World Today - Juneteenth Special
In honor of Juneteenth, it is the perfect time to highlight and celebrate the Black leaders making a difference in the world. While there is a long list of people to choose from, these 10 are great examples of influentially powerful individuals striving to make the world a better place.
Kamala Harris has made incredible strides in her career as a woman in Congress. Kamala was the first woman to serve as a Vice President of the United States and the first South Asian American and Black person to serve. From 2011 to 2016, she was also the first Black American to work as California’s Attorney General.
Once a former National Football League player, Jason Wright recently became the first Black president of the NFL, taking over the role for the Washington Football Team. Jason has been determined to discard the team’s previous racist name, which was a success! After months of inquiring and deciding, Jason announced that the team had officially changed their name to the Commanders. This is a huge step that will help enhance the team’s reputation, thanks to Jason’s help.
After becoming known for her role in the hit television show “Black-ish,” Yara Shahidi has been utilizing her platform to enhance the public’s view on diversity in the media. She is creating more socially active conversations about important issues through her group called Yara’s Club. Yara has even worked with Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady in the United States. This collaboration led to a letter of recommendation, which helped Yara land a spot at Harvard to double major in African American studies and sociology.
Nia DaCosta has been chosen to direct the new “Captain Marvel 2” film. This will make her the first Black woman to direct in the “Marvel Universe,” a unique and extensive business to be employed by. With this huge accomplishment, it is a given that she will inspire other women in the Black community to go after big dreams of their own.
Harvard nominated Noah Harris as the latest student body president of the well-known school, making him the first Black man to be appointed as the school president in the establishment's history. Other Black leaders have fueled his motivation throughout his life, and now Noah can be that someone for others through his voice and power within the educational system.
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
The Covid-19 outbreak hit us and left society frightened and desperate for a vaccine to help ease the situation. Luckily, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a researcher and viral immunologist in the Black community, was able to lead a team that cultivated the well-known Moderna vaccine. Within only two days of the outbreak being uncovered, she developed a plan for the vaccine with her six years of prior experience studying different “spike proteins” from the coronavirus, such as MERS and SARS.
Alicia Boler Davis
Alicia Boler Davis has become very powerful in Amazon’s senior team. Being a Black woman, she is the first to serve on the company's highest tier that advises Jeff Bezos, often referred to as the “S-circle.” With this role, employees hope that Alicia will collaborate to help aid the racist allegations at the company's fulfillment centers and that Amazon will promote more leadership inclusivity within its organization.
By creating more positive and correct portrayals in his web comics and short films, Toni Weaver shapes how young men of color should be represented in the media. Frequently, people of color are misrepresented in the media, which can bring about other issues such as police aggression or economic disadvantages. Toni is working to break those cycles through his organization, Weird Enough Productions.
Rosalind Brewer recently accepted the position of CEO at Walgreens Boots Alliance. For the first time in history, she will be the first and currently only Black woman to be overseeing a Fortune 500 firm. Through the years, Rosalind has made incredible strides in her career within corporate America. She is open about the difficulties of being a woman of color working in this type of environment. Despite the challenges, Rosalind remains positive and confident in her abilities to lead others.
When the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was released in America, someone had to be the first to get the shot. That person was Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse and woman of color in New York. Through her bravery, she hopes that she can inspire others to receive the vaccination, especially Black people. There has been distrust towards medical professionals and vaccinations because of the history of discriminatory treatment of Black people within the medical industry. Sandra promotes a sense of safety and confidence in hopes of inspiring others to get vaccinated.
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References: (click the arrow to expand)
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/01/23-black-leaders-who-are-shaping-history-today.html https://www.americaspromise.org/news/seven-young-leaders-making-black-history-today https://www.npr.org/2022/02/02/1077365060/washington-commanders-football-team-new-name https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2017/11/16/meet-yara-shahidi-the-17-year-old-actress-and-activist/?sh=124c9b057ad3 https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/13/1063020183/sandra-lindsay-got-the-first-u-s-covid-jab-heres-her-secret-to-motivate-others
Shiana Irlbeck is a content writer for the International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability. She also holds a BS in Psychology from Iowa State University.
Inputs and Edits by Sovena Ngeth.