By Nicole Fernandez | Staff Writer
In celebration of February’s annual Black History Month, here is a list of five young African-Americans who will be remembered for their accomplishments.
Mari Copeny, 11
Copeny, or “Little Miss Flint,” is the reason why the Flint, Mich., water crisis gained so much attention in 2016. At 8 years old, Copeny sent a letter to then President Barack Obama requesting a meeting to discuss the serious issue plaguing her hometown. Obama surprised everyone when he didn’t write to her but went to her, instead.
Since then, this young activist has donated thousands of bottles of water to the residents, and just as many backpacks through her #PackYourBackChallenge. She is also the youngest member of the Women’s March Youth Ambassador; Women’s March is a movement that lets women’s voices be heard through marches across cities.
Tony Weaver, 23
A Forbes 30 Under 30 winner, Weaver is the founder and CEO of Weird Enough Productions, a company that champions media literacy. He is trying to fix the common misrepresentation of men of color in the media. With his company, he showcases positive representations of young black men and hopes to change the negative impacts misrepresentation causes on public perception, like police brutality, unfair court sentences, etc.
Marley Dias, 14
When she was 11 years old, Dias started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. Her aim was to find 1,000 books that featured black girls as the lead after getting sick reading book after book about white males as the heroes. The campaign collects and distributes books with black girls protagonists to libraries across the country.
Her work won her a spot on Forbes 2018 30 Under 30, too.
Jahkil Jackson, 11
This Chicago native was busy in 2017 when he crafted 5,000 “blessing bags” for the homeless population. These bags were full of necessities: socks, toiletries, even snacks. It all started when he was 5 years old, and his aunt took him to a shelter to serve soup. His efforts won him a 2017 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which gave him $5,000 to give to any organization he chose. Jackson picked Project I Am, his own nonprofit he created to raise funds for more blessing bags.
Grace Dolan-Sandrino, 17
Dolan-Sandrino is a nationally recognized trans LGBTQ activist who worked as an ambassador to the White House initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans under the Obama administration. Her work helped create a federal guidance that protected trans students from discrimination. Dolan-Sandrino regularly writes for Teen Vogue and is a member of the advisory boards of the National Center for Transgender Equality and Advisory Board of the National Black Justice Coalition.