This February, we are highlighting a few bold and youthful trendsetters who have refused to conform to the implicit biases in the world, discover and listen to others’ stories and provide resources to elevate their communities. 

The world is always rapidly changing, making wanting to make a long-lasting impact a more complex concept. However, many millennial and Generation Z leaders are not waiting for permission to shape the future and are pushing for equity and equality in all spaces – from diversifying the tech world to emphasizing the importance of mental health.

Teflar Clemens

Fashion is one of the many tangible time capsules that can reflect and express the history and values of eras. Telfar Clemens founded the Teflar fashion brand, which focused on genderless designs decades before the terms “non-binary” and “gender fluid” were mainstream. Clemens’s high school teacher in New York wrote monograms for all their students’ names, which sparked the design idea for the brand’s signature “T”- circled logo. Today, his vegan leather tote bags are always sold out and are a favorite among all of the “it girlies” we know. Clemens also has a track record of racking up awards, such as the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the CFDA American Accessories 2019 and the CFDA American Accessories 2020, and he is set to accomplish even more! His iconic mission of fashion accessibility, “it’s not for you, it’s for everyone,” will never be forgotten.


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Simone Biles

This generation is contributing to breaking the boundaries of stigma and empowering millions of people to value their health as their wealth. Being an athlete, student, working a job, pursuing your passions and so much more can all take a toll on an individual’s physical and mental health if there is not enough time to decompress. Simone Biles gracefully led by example and was not afraid to be her authentic self when she voiced her decision to withdraw from the 2020 Olympics to focus on her overall wellness. Since then, she has openly used her platform and influence to discuss the importance of mental health and is now the chief impact officer of the online therapy app, Cerebral.


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Malcolm Kenyatta

“Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation and are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. Therefore, we are progressive and pro-government; most see the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing,” according to the Pew Research Center.

Malcolm Kenyatta is on everyone’s ballot radar as he has proven to be a shining star in the Democratic Party. Kenyatta is not new to but is true to politics! He has been involved locally since the age of eleven when he volunteered as the junior block captain of the Philadelphia Streets program. He has also been a Pennsylvania House of Representatives member since 2019, serving on commerce, finance, liquor control and state government committees. Kenyatta is revolutionizing the landscape of politics with his career as a young, openly gay politician.

Jay’Aina Patton

One out of every 10 Black students is likely to have an incarcerated parent, and for Jay’Aina Patton, this statistic hit very close to home. Maintaining communication with her father proved challenging. However, after his release, they combined her tech savviness with his coding expertise to develop the Photo Patch app that enables children and incarcerated parents to stay connected. Patton wishes to continue to be a role model and proof to other Black girls interested in STEM that they do not have to wait until they are a certain age to make a difference or be an entrepreneur and that anything is possible.

Jerome Foster

Environmental concerns are frequently in the news. Over the years, more and more young people have felt they have a calling to ask and push for a solution to sustainability as this world is our future, so we have to take better care of it. Climate activist, Jerome Foster, recognizes that climate inaction is unavoidable, so he is taking action and encouraging Gen Z to stand with him! He is the youngest member of the White House’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council, started The Climate Reporter’s website and is the executive director of OneMillionOfUs, a youth voter advocacy organization.


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Happy Black History Month!