5 Voices Who Are Resetting America - OZY | A Modern Media Company
People rally next to the Colorado state Capitol to protest the death of George Floyd.
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WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because resetting America means finding new founding fathers.

By Shaan Merchant

Audre Lorde’s 1984 essay “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” examines how those benefiting from an existing system may not have the will or the capacity to deconstruct it. In recent days, as the need for a reconstruction — or at least significant renovation — to the “house” of American society is becoming ever more apparent, the architects chosen will be vital. Here are five voices of the moment we think you should know.

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Samuel Sinyangwe

An activist and data scientist, Sinyangwe, 30, is one of the founders of Campaign Zero, a national organization focused on ending police violence. While you’ll see him in the media less often than co-founders Deray McKesson and Brittany Packnett Cunningham, who made their names in the Black Lives Matter movement during the Ferguson, Missouri, protests, Sinyangwe is bringing the stats to this fight. He has helped create the most comprehensive database of police violence in the country, to pave the way to comprehensive solutions. The group recently released its #8CantWait campaign to spotlight eight policy fixes that research shows correlate with a drop in police killings.

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Brittney Cooper

Cooper, 39, is an author, educator, activist and cultural critic whose research spans from Black feminist theory to hip-hop. In the Rutgers University professor’s eye-opening TED Talk, she discusses the racial politics of time and how it has been stolen from people of color in this country, delaying progress. The Louisiana native’s most recent book is the aptly titled Eloquent Rage.

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Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi, 37, is a historian and the New York Times best-selling author of How to Be an Antiracist. Through memoir-based writing, Kendi makes antiracism accessible, forcing readers to reexamine their own deeply held biases. A New York native, he is the founding director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. Kendi is a vegan and a cancer survivor.

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Elle Hearns

The fights for justice for the LGBTQ community and Black community have been intertwined from the beginning. Rates of violence are even higher against transgender Black people, including the recent killing of Tony McDade. Hearns is the founder and executive director of the Marsha P Johnson Institute, which fights for the rights of transgender Black folks. A native of Columbus, Ohio, she splits her time between Washington, D.C., and Harlem.

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Thea Monyeé

Healing is an essential part of the fight for justice, and artist and therapist Monyeé focuses on healing through the decolonization of joy and pleasure in much of her work, including her podcast, Shaping the Shift. The Los Angeles resident is the author of Murmurs of a MadWoman: An Unconventional Memoir and is working on becoming a licensed sex therapist.

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