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Six Activists to Follow in 2019

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WRITTEN BY Carrie Woodward

Today, social media gives young advocates the opportunity to make their voices heard on a global platform. This means the chance to hear from activists tackling important issues around the world. By listening to the diverse voices, we gain the opportunity to learn, share ideas…and even join the cause of justice alongside others across the world. Do you want to expand your understanding of today’s world? We rounded up this list of six activists to help you do just that. See current issues through new eyes. Follow these six leaders sharing their stories on social media today. 


Mariel García Montes smiling while working at her computer

Mariel García-Montes

Twitter: @faeriedevilish

Web: http://www.faeriedevilish.com/

When Mariel García-Montes was 12 years old, she joined UNICEF as a dedicated member of their young humanitarian and leadership Voices of Youth program. In 2010, UNICEF wrote about the then 20-year-old’s continued involvement as a Mexican youth activist using digital media for social good. As a young woman originally from Mexico City, García-Montes is now making waves as an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. García-Montes believes in the power and importance of using technology for social justice. Her work continues to center on youth, media, technological activism, gender, human rights, and participatory action.


Malala Yousafzai and Frances Uchenna Igwilo standing together

Uchenna Frances Igwilo

Twitter: @uchenna_igwilo

I know you’ve heard of Malala. Now learn about the women she is elevating! Uchenna Frances Igwilo was honored as a Malala Fund’s 2019 Gulmakai Champion. Like Malala, she gained recognition for her work in education, but in northern Nigeria. Igwilo is an advocate for gender equality and women’s leadership through access to education. For example, she organizes clubs for young girls to share their experiences and learn how to speak up for their rights. On top of that, she then hosts meetings with local leaders and parents. Those town hall forums promote the value of educating girls and investing in education. On Twitter, she shares education-focused content related to girls in Nigeria and the world.



A portrait of Tun KhinTun Khin


Twitter: @tunkhin80

Web: Writing on Al Jazeera

For the last two years, Food for the Hungry (FH) has actively responded to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh. This writer and activist, Tun Khin, was born in Arakan State, Burma (now referred to as Myanmar). As part of the Rohingya group considered ineligible for Burmese citizenship, Tun Khin was rendered stateless and forced to flee his home country. Fast forward a few years, Khin is now the President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation in the UK. He writes on Al Jazeera from time to time, and his biography describes him as a “leading voice for Rohingya people around the world.” Have a passion for refugees or displaced people? Follow Khin’s on Twitter or read his pieces published with outlets such as The Huffington Post, BBC, and Al Jazeera.


NPR host and correspondent Shereen Marisol Meraji.Shereen Marisol Meraji

Instagram: @mirage_e 

Twitter: @RadioMirage 

Web: Writing on NPR

Shereen Marisol Meraji is a National Public Radio (NPR) host and correspondent. She is a California native of Puerto Rican and Iranian descent with a unique voice and insight. And that perspective emerges in writing and radio that focuses on real people experiencing issues of race and culture. As the host of the Code Switch podcast, Meraji and her co-host Gene Demby approach complex issues with “humor and humanity” that carries over to her Twitter posts. Meraji’s Twitter sheds light on social justice issues related to race, the immigrant experience, and culture. In addition to that, her re-tweets highlight research and writing by other journalists and people of color. Give her podcast a listen! You will certainly learn something.


Beauty vlogger and Sudanese influencer Shahd Khidir.Shahd Khidir

Instagram: @hadyouatsalaam 

YouTube: @HadYouAtSalaam

Web: http://hadyouatsalaam.blogspot.com/

If you missed that Jerry Maguire reference, “Had You At Salaam” is a play on the classic line “You had me at hello.” Substitute “hello” for the traditional Arabic greeting “Salaam.” Don’t you love a pun for a username? Shahd Khidir is a 26-year-old Sudanese beauty influencer living in New York City. And while she has retained family connections and a strong emotional tie to Sudan, her content focuses on fashion and beauty. However, following violence in Sudan earlier this year, she pivoted from her usual beauty content. Khidir began sharing emotional posts drawing attention to the political and social turmoil in her home country. She spoke up when international media stayed silent. Since then, Khidir has continued sharing inspirational content interspersed with content about the Sudanese conflict.


Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi.Ibram X. Kendi

Instagram: @ibramxk

Twitter: @DrIbram

Web: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/ 

You may have heard of historian Ibram X. Kendi. He’s a National Book Award winner, New York Times best-selling author, and a regular contributor to publications like The Atlantic. I first discovered Kendi as the author of the much-recommended book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. In fact, that very book won Kendi the National Book Award for Nonfiction when he was just 34 years old — making him the youngest winner in history. As a respected historian on race and racism, Kendi is a prophetic voice. But above all, his books and social media presence push me toward self-reflection, in turn, building my awareness of injustice. 


Why Not Go Deeper?

You can start by following some of these activists highlighting social justice issues worldwide and at home. But don’t stop there! Why not do your own research to discover the causes you are passionate about? In fact, you might discover others who feel the same or inspire you to participate in activism yourself! Did you know you can participate with advocacy efforts alongside FH? Learn more about how you can get involved!


Other posts you might enjoy: 

Photo Essay: International Women’s Day Around the Globe

Global Youth and the Rise of Education: A Reflection for Malala Day

Why There Are So Few Women and Girls in Science


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