By Lian Parsons
We messed up. In our list of individuals and organizations, we neglected to mention any individual women. It was an oversight on our part and that’s not to excuse us in any way: it’s exactly those kinds of oversights that have led to Black women’s voices being erased over and over. (We’re glad you let us know.)
So here’s another list, one of powerful Black women who are making their voices heard on social media. Like all lists, it’s not meant to be definitive. We hope it starts a conversation. And of course, let us know whom we missed and what you think.
For more, check out Philanthropy and Social Innovation in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter hosted by Invested Impact during Baltimore Innovation Week 2016 on Monday, Sept. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the MICA Lazarus Center (131 W. North Ave).
Shannon Wallace is a photographer from East Baltimore who, through her project Blacks and Blues, documents tensions between Black people and police. All her social media platforms use the hashtag #BLVKBLUE to keep track of the project. She was recently nominated for a Baltimore Innovation Award for Innovative Creative Group of the Year (and today is the last day to vote!). Wallace is also currently working on a photo series with Close Up Baltimore as well as a project called “What Does Being Black Mean?” Her work can be found on her website and on her Instagram.
Hannah Sawyerr is a junior at Morgan State University but has already made an impact on Baltimore’s poetry scene. Sawyerr is Baltimore’s Youth Poet Laureate of 2016 and has also been voted best up-and-coming poet by the City Paper. She is active on Twitter about college life, feminist issues, inspirational quotes and, of course, Beyonce.
Brittany Oliver is the director of Hollaback! Baltimore, a campaign to end street harassment by encouraging public conversation, developing strategies to ensure public safety and creating inclusive spaces. Oliver has worked as a correspondent for Stop Street Harassment’s blog, reporting on activist efforts, and has given talks at multiple college campuses, including George Washington University and the University of Baltimore’s School of Law. Oliver often tweets about the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and sexism and problems with Baltimore’s police department.
Makayla Gilliam-Price is a young photographer who was recently voted best activist by City Paper. She is the founder of City Bloc, a youth-led, grassroots activist collective that advocates for social justice in Baltimore. She was also was an organizer in July’s #AFROMATION, a protest against police violence. Gilliam-Price posts her work to Instagram and VSCO. She often tweets about topics like activism in the city and #BlackGirlMagic.
Jazzmen Knoderer is the director of communications for Maryland’s Democratic Party. Last year, she wrote a story for the Baltimore Sun about the history of the ‘n-word’ and the ongoing danger it presents to Black people. She has recently tweeted mainly about the ongoing presidential campaigns and their impact on Black people.
Mecca Verdell is youth poet, an international slam champion and a host at VVCRadio. She recently posted a poem on YouTube in support of Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the Ghostbusters remake who was harassed on Twitter. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter where she creates “poet memes” and posts her poetry. She also tweets about issues like gentrification.
Bilphena Yahwon is the owner and curator and of Gold Womyn, a platform for creators of color, especially Black women. The website features visual artists and writers, a lifestyle section for style, a blog, commentary and “Bilphena’s Reading List.” Yahwon, along with Upile Chisala, is also the co-creator of a once-a-month meeting called yanja where women of color are invited to come together to express themselves. Born in Sierra Leone and raised in Danané, Cȏte d’Ivoire, Yahwon writes about the immigrant experience and Black womanhood and often tweets about the role white supremacy plays in society and engaging in dismantling it.
Upile Chisala is a Malawian-born writer and the second founder of yanja. She self-published a collection of prose and poetry called soft magic. Chisala also has an online store with products like tote bags with empowering messages to Black people, especially Black women, like “Blackness is not a sin” and “Black & Woman & In Love With Myself.” She can also be found on Twitter and on Instagram.
Korey Toddae is a Howard University School of Law student and a poet. She’s invested in “activism, poetry and theory,” as listed at the top of her website. Toddae is known as Young Rosa Parks on Twitter, where she tweets about current activism work like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest and discusses issues like white feminism.
Brion Gill, known by her stage name as Lady Brion, is the resident poet for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle and the poet laureate of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church. She has been writing poetry since she was a teenager and has performed her work domestically and internationally. Gill was a former program director and board member for Dew More Baltimore, an organization that uses the arts to encourage community engagement. She uses Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and her website is in the works) to post about her work.
Jill P. Carter has served as a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates representing the 41st District since 2003. She is the daughter of the late Walter P. Carter, a Baltimore civil rights activist during the 1960’s. In 2008, the NAACP gave Carter the highest grade of “outstanding,” the only member of Baltimore City’s state delegation to receive the grade. As a lawyer, she tweets about topics like criminal justice and racial equality.
Nari Monet is a Morgan State University alumna and a model.
Monet’s Instagram also features some of her modeling photos and she is behind the hashtag #StylesbyDuchess where she showcases her hair styling skills.
We couldn’t find much about this Baltimore activist other than her Twitter, but it has no shortage of tweets and retweets about America’s history of slavery, the problems with hyperpatriotism and calling out sexism in response to Paris Monroe, a 4th grade teacher who has been criticized for her “unprofessional attire:”