Activism isn't a lost cause. It's alive and well all over the world and St. Louis is proving to be a force, providing a platform for young people to stay involved and facilitate community outreach.
Black History Month is the perfect time to take a look at activism. It's easy to get wrapped up in the glorious works of our ancestors, but we felt it just as important to celebrate a millennial generation. Here are three activists from St. Louis who are doing, and have done, the work to help better all of our lives:
1. Kayla Reed
Kayla Reed who, started #WakandaTheVote, an initiative to register voters at Black Panther screenings everywhere, is an inspiring 27-year-old black, queer, activist and organizer. Following Michael Brown's killing in 2014, Reed was heavily involved in the Ferguson uprising, which became a big part of her journey around activism.
Reed has been published in the Washington Post and HuffPost. She was recognized as one of CNN's Disruptors and by Delux Magazine in their inaugural Power 100 List. Reed is currently a sophomore at Washington University studying Sociology and African/African-American Studies and is a co-founder the Electoral Justice Project (EJP), which is a project by the Movement for Black Lives that aims to fight for and advance the rights of black Americans. Keep up with Kayla on Instagram and Twitter.
2. Johnetta "Netta" Elzie
Netta is an American civil rights activist who co-edits the Ferguson protest newsletter This Is the Movement with Deray Mckesson. She too became involved in activism following the shooting of Mike Brown and has powerfully used her social media presence to track the progress the movement was making on the ground.
Now, Netta, 28, who is currently based in San Francisco, continues to use her voice to speak out against Trump's administration in ways that feel authentic to her. "To me activism is soul work," says Elzie. "If your soul is satisfied and happy then you will be too."
You can follow Netta on twitter.
3. Rasheen Aldridge
Aldridge is a community organizer and activist who was born and raised in the city of St. Louis. He is also the current director of YSTL, (Young Activists United St. Louis), which is an organization bringing together progressive young people with local social justice work to help foster young leaders to carry on the social justice movement in St. Louis.
He has a passion for justice and is a leader in the Show Me 15 workers’ rights movement advocating living wages for fast food workers. At the age of 22, he became the youngest elected official in the city of St.Louis, serving as 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman. Find all of Alrdige's excellence on twitter.
4 and 5. Joshua Reed, 24 and Pierre Barnes, 24 - Gourmet Juice Specialists at Power Juice Bar
Joshua Reed and Pierre Barnes are both St. Louis residents who work together to maintain Power Juice Bar to provide healthy options to the people in their community. Reed is the founder of the business.
“I just wanted to expose the community to something different,” Reed told Blavity. “They were just going through the Mike Brown situation when I moved here, and I thought it was the perfect thing to do.”
Barnes works with Reed to help keep the Power Juice Bar vision alive within the community. Reed said he wants to help better the health of black people in his neighborhood, especially kids, to make them more aware about the foods they consume and how to make healthier life choices.
Shoutout to them!