As a nation, we take the third Monday of every January to celebrate the life and legacy of noted social activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A humanitarian, King believed that a non-violent approach was the only way to create a noticeable difference in the fight against racial injustice. The importance of his work continues to live on today through young activists hungry to make Dr. King’s dream a reality. I’ve rounded up 12 young bright minds around the world who are making a difference in their communities. As Dr. King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Keep Reading to see the dreamers who still fight the good fight!
Lisa Lee and Lynn Chen
Lisa Lee and Lynn Chen teamed up to speak on prevailing body issues, specifically within the Asian community on their blog, Thick Dumpling Skin. Topics like dieting, body shaming, and other societal/cultural struggles are addressed on a public platform by the duo to spread visibility and body-positivity.
As a senior at UCL, Julius Ibrahim set out to create a coffee business to help the homeless in London. Second Shot is still in the works, but when completed, the social impact will help countless of London’s homeless.
Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell
Inspired by protesting in Ferguson over the Michael Brown verdict, couple Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell co-founded Millennial Activists United. This collective works as a movement toward meaningful social justice for black lives through grass-roots efforts.
Discouraged by the negative portrayal of his hometown in Rio De Janiero, Rene Silva wanted to share the truth of his city’s favelas through the written word. Not only did he create his own newspaper at age 11 and live-tweet a police raid at age 17, but at 19 years old, he just finished his first book.
Brooklyn artist Tatyana Fazlalizdeh uses street art and murals as a tool to combat sexist street harassment in her ongoing campaign, Stop Telling Women to Smile. These works of art aim to create a strong presence of female faces and voices in areas where they usually do not feel safe.
Nine-year old Chicago student Asean Johnson was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington when he spoke about the lack of funding and resources at U.S. public schools. During the speech, he encouraged everyone to help keep Martin Luther King Jr’s dream alive by fighting for racial equality and public education.
Director of the Ecopuntos, Camilo Jiménez helped develop a business that rewards eco-conscious consumers with points for recycling that can later be redeemed for prizes. In the future, Jiménez hopes to branch EcoPuntos in more cities and further expand the range of materials that can be recycled.
Even as a young girl, Kaya Thomas knew the importance of visibility when she had trouble finding books featuring black characters that she could relate to. To help bridge the gap between authors of color who write about characters of color and readers, she created the popular app, We read too!
Shawn Deangelo Walton
A student of Morehouse college, Shawn Deangelo Walton combined his love of cycling and community-building to co-found the organization, WeCycle Atlanta. Quickly expanding past just promoting an active lifestyle, WeCycle Atlanta teaches life-skills to Atlanta youth with bike classes and community-service projects.
At the age of 15, Sejal Hathi founded Girls Helping Girls, a non-profit that connected girls through knowledge-sharing and community. Only three years later, Sejal was back at it by starting Girl Tank, an organization geared on empowering young female entrepreneurs globally.
Let me know in the comments if you know of any young dreamers making a difference in your neighborhood.