Mary Williams has had an interesting life, being the child of a prominent member of the Black Panther party and the unofficially adopted child of Jane Fonda who helped her flourish to be a prominent social activist. Williams also started up The Lost Boys Foundation to aid refugees. Williams has written two books, one on her experience working to better the lives of Sudanese refugees and the second on her own life experiences. Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan (2005) and The Lost Daughter: A Memoir (2013). Williams is an anti-war activist and was a supporter of President Obama during the 2012 election.
Joshua Wong October 13, 1996 to Present
A social activist from Hong Kong, Joshua Wong has been politically minded since 2014 and active in Hong Kong’s political movements since. He is well known for his work toward gaining a more democratic political system for his home of Hong Kong. Through his religious beliefs he learned how to organize and gain the skills needed to be a great orator. Ever since his 2014 global debut he has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (2018), listed in Time magazine’s most influential teens and nominated for 2014’s Person of the Year. In 2015, he was called one of the “world’s greatest leaders” by Fortune magazine. The current political turmoil in Hong Kong has been shaped and affected by students like Wong who among others should stay in the public view.
Martin Luther King III October 23, 1957 to Present
The living legacy of MLK, Martin Luther King III has followed in his father’s footsteps in being a social and political activist to end racism in the United States. His political and social activism journey began in 1967 the year of his father’s assassination at the age of ten. As it had affected the nation in a major way, King was deeply affected by his father’s murder. In 2006, he served as president of the King Center and continues to be a source of political activism as his father was.
While not the chosen symbol for the Civil Rights movement when it came to the issue of segregation on public transportation, Colvin was the very first Black American to refuse to give up her bus seat as was law in Alabama at the age of fifteen. Social factors at the time was the reason why the NAACP decided to go with the latter incident of Rosa Parks. However, Colvin even at her young age was politically minded and did what she could to support the movement that she saw as a social changing factor that would better her life and the lives of millions of others. In her professional life she was a nurse assistant for 35 years retiring in 2004. While she did not receive the recognition that Rosa Parks would receive in terms of being the first to refuse an unjust law, Colvin deserves the recognition she did not receive in 1955.
Kerry Kennedy September 8, 1959 to Present
The daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy has spent her life fighting for the rights of humans, traveling to several nations in order to conduct her work. She has championed the rights for children, women, and immigrants. She is the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center of Human Rights a foundation that was named after her father. Her most recent work was on the “Farmers Workers Bill” that passed in 2019. She is a major proponent of many social issues within the United States including BLM.
Shaun King September 17, 1979 to Present
Shaun King is a social activist writer who had started the politically minded site The North Star in honor of Frederick Douglass. With this and other social media sites King brings the actions of social activists and organizations to the forefront of the media age. Writing compelling articles on how and why the social issues of the day are of great importance. King is also the co-founder of Real Justice PAC and has focused on publishing on current issues that include violence against Black Americans.
One of the lead authors of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, James Baldwin is best known for his work Go Tell It on the Mountain. A work that was included in Time Magazine’s 100 “Best English-Language Novels 1923 to 2005.” While this is his best-known work, Baldwin had written many other articles and papers that would be used by Civil Rights leaders during their fight in the 1960’s. Also, Baldwin was one of the few gay black men in the movement. Realizing his sexual orientation early in life he had to grow up with both systemic racism and homophobia of the period, leading him to leave the United States for France. However, while he there, he did his part to contribute to the Civil rights Movement of the 1960’s. Due to his many works and contributions Baldwin was awarded the George Polk Award and the Eugene F. Saxon Award.
Serj Tankian August 21, 1967 to Present
Best known for his work with the band System of the Down, Serj Tankian is a Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter who has made the focus of his musical career to the advancement of social issues. His focus being those around human rights, genocide, and animal rights. This is all shaped in his work, both with the band System of the Down and his own solo works. Famous works include Empty Walls a and Soldiers’ Side works based on the issues of the Iraq War and the plight of soldiers respectfully. Tankian also started his own groups to get youths involved in both politics and music. Axis of Justice being the biggest group. Tankian is still active in his work, both musically and politically, and writes songs based on his convictions.
Mary Temple Grandin August 29, 1947 to Present
A renown author, animal behavior expert, and advocate for people with autism. Grandin had proven to be a dedicated student who with the aid of her mother and mentors was able to complete her education and became a great aid for parents with autistic children. Her major works are based around her love of animals, her best known work being Animals Make US Human. However, she has also written a book focused autism, The Autistic Brian, which is still used to explain the development of the medical understanding of autism. In this regard she has done much for both the development of understanding animals and humans with a different neurological makeup.