The silencing of Elizabeth Warren on the senate floor last week when quoting the iconic Black Civil Rights icon Coretta Scott King was a disturbing reminder of the continuous need to uphold POC Women's voices.
The wife of legendary Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott was a civil rights leader of her own right and a beacon of hope for all women. She worked side-by-side with her husband in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and in passing the Civil Rights Act. After her husband's tragic murder, she founded the Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Also a writer, She published articles and columns on social issues, and was also a regular commentator on CNN beginning in 1980 and is also the author of the memoir, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., published in 1969. She fought to make her husband's birthday a national holiday for 15 years until President Ronald Reagan finally signed the bill in 1983. You can read the letter Warren was quoting here.
In honor of Coretta Scott King we are featuring a few today's greatest activists of color, with a special focus on women of queer experience and those who inhabit female spaces. As there are so many incredible individuals to honor, we have put an emphasis on those we haven't featured yet (see some more here!)
If there are others you wish to see honored on Qwear, please comment below!
1. Gloria Lucas
Gloria Lucas is an eating disorder survivor who created Nalgona Positivity Pride, a network raising ED awareness in communities of color and decolonizing body love, to provide people like herself with the resources they need and won't find in the white-centered world of ED recovery and body positivity.
2. Alicia Garza
Alicia Garza a co-founder of Black Lives Matter: an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. Black Lives Matter is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, their humanity, and their resilience in the face of deadly oppression. Along with co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza has grown #BlackLivesMatter to become one of the foremost racial justice campaigns in the United States.
3. Jordan Alam
Jordan Alam is a writer, editor, doula, and social change educator based out of Seattle, Washington. She founded Project As[I]Am a pan-Asian American online magazine that promotes the emerging voices of artists and activists who lack support and find their work underrepresented elsewhere. She also keeps a personal blog at The Cowation and works as a research assistant evaluating youth arts programs and as a domestic violence advocate.
4. Nikki Giovanni
In the 1960s, Nikki Giovanni was a revolutionary poet of the Black Arts Movement that nourished civil rights. She had a famous dialogue with James Baldwin in Paris in 1971. Now a professor at Virginia Tech, she brought beauty and courage by way of poetry after the shooting there. Today, she is a self-proclaimed space freak and a delighted elder — an adored voice to hip-hop artists and the new forms of social change this generation is creating. (Source: wnyc.org.)
5. Alvis Choi
Alvis Choi a.k.a. Alvis Parsley is a Toronto-based artist, performer, facilitator and researcher born and raised in Hong Kong. They work closely with Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) as an artist, organizer, and coordinator. Butterfly provides support to, and advocates for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers.
6. Virgie Tovar
Virgie Tovar is an author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp, a 4-week online course designed to help those who are ready to break up with diet culture, and started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight. Tovar edited the ground-breaking anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012).
7. Debbie-Jean Lemonte
Debbie-jean Lemonte is the owner and photographer of DAG IMAGES and Content Creator of a lifestyle and fashion blog, The Loc’d Bella. One of her photo series, We are Queens, counteracts the media's white stands of beauty by featuring beautiful Black women in regal outfits. The series aims to inform, inspire, and motivate women of all ages about their value as human beings.
You don't need to have a name to make an impact. We invited Qwear contributor Tyler Roze, who is Native American to share her feelings about this unidentified Native American protestor. She shared it in the form of a poem:
I see a fellow Warrior birthed from Awitellin Tsita the mother of earth and life. I see a sibling taking the responsibility of the children of man. Taking a stand to protect the loving earth and the freedom we each deserve as a Human being
. I see a Healer, a young Chief confronting the corruption of men in suit and ties.
As my grandmother once told me “If you wait for something to Change, then you will be still like a tree. Yet if you seek Change, you must be willing to be destroyed and transformed for the very thing you wish to Change. “
I see a brave individual embracing and overcoming these very challenges for Change.
I see a spirit whom stairs into the beast eyes unaverred, undefeated and courageous because we do not fear the change we wish to create. I see an Activist whom is enriched with traditions and the voice of Apoyan Ta'Chu the father of the sky.
9. Angelica Ross
Angelica Ross is the President of Miss Ross, Inc. and TransTech Social Enterprises, a program that helps people lift themselves out of poverty through technical training, digital work creating a social impact and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities. Angelica has toured nationally, speaking her powerful mission into action with business leaders, educators, and Barak Obama, former US President.
10. Malynda Nicole
Malynda Nicole is a fashion blogger from Baltimore, MD. She founded the Phatshion Peackock in 2011 — an image consulting business and fashion blog geared towards empowering women of size.
Thank you all for your beautiful leadership and contributions to our world. You all provide inspiration and hope to the Qwear community.
Special thanks to Bing and Mojo for help conceptualizing this piece.
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.