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Who to Follow: Necessary Activists for Black Lives and Rights

Here is a list of trustworthy scholars and activists who discuss race and police brutality to help educate you on systemic racism in America.

In a time where America is standing up for black lives in the face of police brutality following the unjust murder of George Floyd, it is necessary to educate ourselves on race and police brutality. In order to have difficult conversations with uneducated relatives and peers, it is especially necessary to be educated. 

There are many modern race scholars and writers who discuss and explain police brutality and race who are using their voices to reach the masses and exemplify why racism has been ingrained into the infrastructure of American society for 400 years. Here is a list of trustworthy scholars and activists who discuss race and police brutality to help educate you on systemic racism in America. 

1. Roxane Gay

Gay is a writer best known for her New York Times opinion contributions and bestselling novels Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, and Hunger. She is a professor at Eastern Illinois, Purdue, and Yale University, and a social commentator who focuses on analyzing and deconstructing feminist and race issues. She uses a personal lens to understand issues of sexuality and race—analyzing these themes through her own experiences. Recently, Gay has utilized her platforms on Instagram and Twitter to share her opinions on police brutality and race in modern America, specifically by way of her recent opinion piece “Remember, No One is Coming to Save Us” published in the New York Times. 

2. Rachel Elizabeth Cargle

Cargle is an academic and lecturer who addresses activism and academic work by way of writing. She provides tools and resources through her various platforms in order to better understand race. She is well known for her platform on Instagram where she engages with followers to provide space to discuss racial issues. She lectures on racist histories within American infrastructure, the black experience, and understanding how to be an ally in American spheres. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Harpers, and The New Yorker. She is also a prominent activist who has raised money for black women’s access to mental health care.  

3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Adiche is a Nigerian woman who has written New York Times bestselling novels such as Americanah. She is prominently known for her 2009 and 2012 TED talks which cover racism and intersectional feminism through the lens of an African woman living in America. She has been utilizing her platform on Instagram to speak out about racism and police brutality in America. Her unique perspective—having split her time between the United States and Nigeria—brings interesting and diverse rhetoric to her writing and activism. 

4. Layla F. Saad

Saad is an activist, speaker, and teacher who predominately covers topics of identity, race, personal struggles, and social change. She is the author of Me and White Supremacy and also has a podcast titled Good Ancestor. She is globally known for her public speaking and is incredibly passionate about inspiring change in the world. She is especially passionate about the liberation of black girls and women. Her confrontation of the patriarchy and white supremacy is a necessary staple of her work.

5. Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi is a Gugghenheim Fellow (2019) best known for his contributions to The Atlantic and his work as the director for the Center for Antiracist Research in Washington DC. He is a renowned speaker and one of the leading academics on antiracism in America. He is the youngest winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction, at 34 years old. He is also a professor of history and international relations, and an academic essayist. The New York Times listed many of Kendi’s books in their anti-racist reading suggestions, including How to Be an Antiracist.

Featured Image by Andrew Westmoreland from Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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