People around the world continue to protest police brutality in light of the deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers, including the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in a confrontation with two white men. And with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a wider conversation about systemic racism in the United States. If you’re part of the fight against racism, it’s important to educate yourself about the issues at hand being discussed by Black activists, speakers, and educators. To get started, check out these 25 Black women activists to follow on Instagram.
While anti-racism might be all anyone is talking about during the protests over the recent killings, it’s important to remember that Black activists, as well as other leaders of color, have been doing this work for a long time. These activists are sharing resources on a number of issues that affect the Black community, including policing, the intersection of race and gender, and performative allyship. Being informed about active and passive racism in the Black community is an important part of anti-racism, but it’s not the job of Black people to educate someone on how to be anti-racist. Basically, these resources are useful for anyone who is trying to be actively anti-racist, but the onus of answering questions that come up on the subject is not on Black activists. Also, anyone who is inspired by an activist who is sharing a foundation or donation link should consider giving back (if they’re able) and compensating the people doing this work.
Besides taking a cue from Black leaders, you can work on being an ally by doing your own research into the centuries of racial inequality that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as learning about the systems of oppression that benefit white people and how you can choose not to be complicit in them. A popular book to start that process is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin J. DiAngelo. Additionally, listen to, and help amplify Black voices, as well as any resources they choose to share.
Here are a few of the best accounts to look into if you want to learn more. This is an incomplete list, and there are always more brilliant and inspirational Black leaders to learn from. This list will be continually updated with new names of Black activists sharing valuable information and resources on their pages.
1. Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (@Rachel.Cargle)
Cargle, a writer and activist, directly challenges her followers to engage in the intersectionality of racism and gender. Her account is full of teachable moments, whether she’s breaking down problematic language in a post or sharing a template for allies to use to hold institutions accountable for racism.
2. Giselle Buchanan (@GiselleBuchanan)
Buchanan’s feed is full of "how to" resource slideshows, such as this viral post on how to be an ally to the Black community and actions allies and supporters can take to further the Black Lives Matter movement and push for tangible change.
3. Cleo Wade (@CleoWade)
Wade, the author of Heart Talk, uses poetry and art to engage with her followers about racial injustice. She also encourages her followers to support organizations that study racism and come up with action-based solutions to change systems of inequality, such as The Antiracist Research & Policy Center.
4. Ava DuVernay (@Ava)
DuVernay, whom fans might know from her films and TV shows Selma, 13th, and When They See Us, uses her Instagram account as an additional educational platform. Not only does she raise awareness about her work with women of color and film on her Feed, but she has also been calling for justice for the police killings of unarmed Black Americans.
5. Brittany Packnett Cunningham (@Mspackyetti)
The writer and co-host of Pod Save The People and former member of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing shares informational anti-racism resources like books, movies, and TV shows from Black creators. She also brings in other voices to her page to help. In June 2020, she was part a virtual town hall conversation with Obama about race, where he discussed "the specific actions needed to transform a system" and end police brutality, which include his call for people to protest and vote, not one or the other.
6. Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa)
Elzie has a long history as a civil rights activist, from co-founding Campaign Zero to editing the award-winning Ferguson protest newsletter "This Is the Movement," which chronicled police brutality around the nation after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. People can follow along on her journey on her social media and access links to pieces she’s written, including her story of coming out as queer to her family.
7. Layla Saad (@LaylaFSaad)
The author of The New York Times best-selling book, Me and White Supremacy is also the host of The Good Ancestor podcast. Saad shares informational posts about her book as well as other resources on her account.
8. Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCarruthers)
Carruthers is a founding member of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), which is focused on voter mobilization and social justices campaigns on Black, feminist, and queer issues, and the author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. She shares poetry and other musings about being a Black queer woman on her Instagram. She also posts about defunding the police and explains why redirecting funds from police departments to other parts of society is a better approach.
9. Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones)
The Reclaiming Our Space author launched the social media campaigns #NMOS14, which stands for National Moment of Silence in Honor of Michael Brown, and #YouOKSis, which was about protesting police violence against Black men and street harassment that Black women experience. Jones also shares links to her writing on her Instagram account.
10. Yara Shahidi (@YaraShahidi)
Shahidi, whom fans may know from Blackish, shares her involvement with The Movement For Black Lives, which is a coalition of Black organizations across the country. In addition to sharing specific action items to help increase Black political power, the group also advocates for defunding police forces and and instead investing in communities. Shahidi also has an "Educate" Instagram Story Highlight where you can go to see the latest info on the movement.
11. Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo)
Oluo, the author of So You Want To Talk About Race, shares informational statistics about topics like police brutality and allyship. She also posts templates which followers can use when calling for justice about the police killings of Black Americans.
12. Dr. Joy Harden Bradford (@HelloDrJoy)
Bradford, the creator of the podcast Therapy for Black Girls, shares resources about mental health specifically for the Black experience by using psychology and pop culture.
13. Shelah Marie (@TheShelahMarie)
Marie is the founder of Curvy Curly Conscious, which is a community for Black women to come together to talk about self love, mental health, and liberation. She also posts informational resources like bail funds to donate to and inspiring quotes from Black leaders.
14. Myisha T. Hill (@CkYourPrivilege)
Hill, who is the founder of Brown Sisters Speak, provides courses and book recommendations for helping people educate themselves on their privilege. In addition, she also highlights different women of color on her page to provide their perspectives and share their experiences.
15. Kimberlé Crenshaw (@KimberleCrenshaw)
Crenshaw is a co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, which is a think tank focused on dismantling structural inequity, and a law professor at UCLA and Columbia. She’s credited with coining and developing the concept of intersectionality, and she shares informational posts about topics like intersectionality and police brutality in addition to hosting talks about the history, ideology, and politics that led to systemic racism in the United States.
16. Kimberly Latrice Jones (@KimberlyLatriceJones)
Jones, who was nominated for an 2020 NAACP Image Award for co-authoring I’m Not Dying With You Tonight with Gilly Segal, uses her Instagram as a platform to raise awareness about issues disproportionately impacting the Black community like police brutality and poverty.
17. Austin Channing Brown (@AustinChanning)
On her Instagram page, the author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness posts shareable graphics and inspirational quotes informing her followers about being actively anti-racist, like this one that says "Anti-racism requires action. It’s a choice to pursue racial justice."
18. Monique Melton (@MoeMotivate)
The founder of the Shine Brighter Together podcast shares numerous educational posts on her Instagram focused on the experience of Black women. People looking to understand the extent of white privilege and how they are complicit in it can learn from Melton’s posts about toxic white feminism, performative allyship, and learning how to take correction from Black women.
19. Alishia McCullough (@BlackAndEmbodied)
McCullough, a licensed therapist, is a great resource for anyone looking for actionable ways they can use their white privilege to help support the Black community right now. She recently challenged her followers to an #AmplifyMelanatedVoices campaign which has 11 calls to action, including steps like choosing Black women for positions of leadership and helping to fund books, podcasts, and other works created by Black people.
20. Megan Torres (@TrustMeImASocialWorker)
Torres uses her background in therapy and human rights to educate her followers on systemic racism while sharing action plans to reduce white supremacy, how to avoid performative allyship, and a template to use to call for anti-racism trainings and education.
21. Raquel Willis (@Raquel_Willis)
Willis shares her experience as a Black transgender woman through her work with @translawcenter and @blacktranscircles_tlc. Her Instagram page is filled with information about the rampant violence against the Black trans community.
22. Danielle Coke (@OhHappyDani)
Not only does Coke share artistic graphics about anti-racism and fighting for racial justice on her platform, but she also holds Instagram Live chats where she addresses topics like implicit bias and why it’s not enough to just be "not racist."
23. Aurélia Durand (@4ur3lia)
Durand, who illustrated This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work, uses vibrant illustrations to celebrate Black culture and raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. She also has numerous GIFS about diversity that followers can find on Instagram by searching "Aurelia" in the Instagram Story Explore page.
24. Mila Jam (@TheMilaJam)
Jam, who calls herself a "pop recording artivisit" in her Instagram bio, is a Black transgender woman and performer. She shares performances and videos about racism, transphobia, and allyship.
25. Lo Harris (@LoHarris_Art)
Harris harnesses the power of art to bring awareness to the struggles that the Black community encounters in addition to sharing links with tangible ways allies can help demand justice for Black victims of police brutality. She also shares everyday tributes to Black women — in February 2020, she shared an all-month tribute to famous Black women called #29Queens.
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